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Shirley #53: Central MA’s Best Communities

Tuesday, June 26, 2012



Coming in 53rd on our Best Communities of Central Mass list, Shirley, which is named for a former Massachusetts governor, enjoys the benefits of rural living with quick access to the rest of the state.

The Shirley Shaker Village, which was established in 1793, remains a National Parks Service site, although the meetinghouse was moved to Pittsfield in 1962. The town, which is home to two state prisons that are located on the edge of town, agreed to establish a regional school district with the town of Ayer beginning in 2011.

Shirley cracks the top 20 with its safety ranking, coming in at #19.  Its affordability and economic condition rankings are average, but its educational achievement 56th.  

Shirley by the numbers

Established: 1753
Population: 7211
Median household income: $72,598
Median housing price: $189,250

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 53
Affordability ranking: 31
Education ranking: 56
Economic condition ranking: 38
Safety ranking: 19
Arts & Culture ranking: 45

History in a nutshell:

Shirley, settled in 1720, was home to one of the Shaker communities of the 18th and 19th centuries. Shakers, a communal society, constructed the Shirley Shaker Meeting House in 1793, servicing one of the smallest Shaker societies. As the Shaker community dwindled, Shirley remained a predominately agricultural town, as it is today. 

Famous residents:  

Oliver Holder, Hymn Writer
Hermann Field, Author
Earl Tupper, Founder of Tupperware Company
Jerry White, MLB player

Notable residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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