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Sturbridge #34: Central MA’s Best Communities

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Sturbridge, which ranks 35th on Central MA's Best Communities list, is perhaps best known for its must-see attraction Old Sturbridge Village. The village is a living history museum that features actors and actresses portraying historical characters and teaching visitors about life in the late 18th and early 19th century.

For those that want to explore nature, Sturbridge is also home to Tantiusques, an open space reservation and historic site once known for its now defunct graphite mines. Tantiusques comes from a word of the Nipmuck tribe meaning "black stuff between the hills," and the site is now a favorite spot for hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and horseback riding.

Old Sturbridge Village and other cultural venues push the town's arts and culture ranking to #7, but the town ranks 51st in both affordability and economic condition.  It also ranks 40th for safety.  

Photo courtesy of John Phelan

Sturbridge by the numbers

Established: 1738
Population: 9,268
Median household income: $71,607
Median housing price: $234,950

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 34
Affordability ranking: 51 
Education ranking: 38
Economic condition ranking: 51
Safety ranking: 40
Arts & Culture ranking: 7
Restaurant ranking: 21

History in a nutshell: 

Settled in 1729, the town is home to the Old Sturbridge Village Living History Museum which gives an insight into the rural life of the 1800s. The museum depicts the agricultural town centered upon the various carding, saw and grist mills as well as blacksmith, shoe and cooper shops. Sturbridge has evolved greatly since the 19th century life depicted by the living museum, yet has remained a small, mostly agricultural town. 

Famous residents:  

Bill Fox, MLB player

Notable residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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