Ashland, Massachusetts

Ashland, Massachusetts

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Ashland, Massachusetts
nickname = The Clock Town
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Massachusetts
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Middlesex
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1750
established_title2 = Incorporated
established_date2 = 1846
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
government_type = Open town meeting
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 33.5
area_total_sq_mi = 12.9
area_land_km2 = 32.2
area_land_sq_mi = 12.4
area_water_km2 = 1.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.5
population_as_of = 2007
settlement_type = Town
population_as_of =
population_total = 15,796
population_density_km2 = 490.6
population_density_sq_mi = 1,273.9
elevation_m = 57
elevation_ft = 188
timezone = Eastern
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = Eastern
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 42 |latm = 15 |lats = 40 |latNS = N
longd = 71 |longm = 27 |longs = 50 |longEW = W
website = []
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 01721
area_code = 508 / 774
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 25-02130
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0619394
footnotes =

Ashland, Massachusetts is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the MetroWest region. The population was 14,674 at the 2000 census.


The area now known as Ashland was settled in the early 1700s and inhabited prior to that by the Megunko Indians, to which Megunko Hill owes its name. Previously known as "Unionville", Ashland was incorporated in 1846, bearing the name of statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate, and is considerably younger than many of the surrounding towns. The establishment of the Boston to Albany railroad in the mid-1800s was key in early development of Ashland, although it remained a mainly centralized residential town with limited industry until the mid 20th century.

Local inventor Henry E. Warren developed the Warren Synchronizing Timer in 1916, which made synchronous electric clocks possible by keeping alternating current flowing from power plants at a consistent sixty cycles per second. Warren founded Telechron, which, in partnership with General Electric, manufactured electric clocks in Ashland until 1979. A Warren Synchronizing Timer is on display at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington D.C, while the high school sports teams have been coined "The Clockers." Also of note was the construction of the Ashland Reservoir around 1900, from the waters of Cold Spring. This is the current site of Ashland State Park.

Throughout most of the 20th century, Ashland's population remained slow in growth, until the post-war boom beginning in the 1950s. Ashland grew from a far-removed rural town 22 miles west of Boston to a primarily residential suburb by the 1980s. Many farms and open spaces have given way to housing, although some untouched land still remains including the Ashland Town Forest, Ashland State Park, and land comprising the beach and dam portions of Hopkinton State Park.

Two major routes, 135 and 126, pass through Ashland. Route 135 is dominated by older residential development of varying density and is also part of the route for the Boston Marathon, which began in Ashland on Pleasant Street until the start was moved to Hopkinton's Main Street in 1924. Route 126 has developed rapidly since the 1980s, as farms have given way to shopping centers and condominiums. Part of the draw of Ashland, and one that has been publicized in recent years, is its "ideal" location about halfway between the cities of Boston and Worcester. Ashland is considered part of MetroWest, which also consists of the towns of Framingham, Holliston, and Hopkinton.

Even though the current Ashland has left its humble roots as a rural area, it still retains the look and feel of a typical residential Boston-area New England town. Traditions like the Ashland Day fair and small-town favorites like the ice cream shop Tasty Treat and breakfast joint Sunnyside Cafe maintain the feeling of a close-knit community. Even so, it is not without a McDonald's and a significant number of pizza establishments. Ashland's traditional rival is Hopkinton for the Thanksgiving football game.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33.5 km²), of which, 12.4 square miles (32.2 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.2 km²) of it (3.72%) is water.

Adjacent towns

Ashland is located in Eastern Massachusetts, bordered by:
*Framingham on the northeast
*Sherborn on the east
*Holliston on the south
*Hopkinton on the southwest
*Southborough on the northwest


Ashland's climate is variable. Winters are typically cold, with frequent Nor'easters and occasional blizzards. Snowfall ranges widely from season to season, although the average is about 60 inches. In the recent past, there has been as little as 14 inches of snow (in the 1988-89 winter season) to 148 inches (in 1995-96). The amount decreases dramatically eastward towards Boston because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Snowfall amounts can also decrease rapidly south of Ashland. Low temperatures below zero are not uncommon in winter, and the lowest recent temperature was 17 below in January 1994. Spring temperatures can be mitigated by penetrating cold fronts originating from the Canadian Maritimes, known as "Backdoor Cold Fronts". Typically, high temperatures consistently above 70 degrees do not set in until late May. The last frost is usually in mid-May. Summers are generally comfortable, with periods of high humidity. Prolonged heat waves of three or more days with highs of 90 or above are uncommon but can occur. Average July high temperatures are in the low 80s and average lows are around 60. The first frost is usually around October 1st, and the peak of the fall foliage season averages around October 12th. Ashland can expect a "white" Christmas slightly over 50 percent of the time.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 14,674 people, 5,720 households, and 4,021 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,179.3 people per square mile (455.4/km²). There were 5,794 housing units at an average density of 465.6/sq mi (179.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.88% White, 1.79% African American, 0.10% Native American, 2.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.92% of the population.

There were 5,720 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 22.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $68,392, and the median income for a family was $77,611. Males had a median income of $51,869 versus $38,226 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,641. About 0.9% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.


In 2005 the town completed the new new high school and revised the division of grades. These changes include the 6th grade being moved to join the 7th and 8th grades in the former high school to form what is now Ashland Middle School and moving the 3rd grade from the Henry E. Warren Elementary School into the Mindess Elementary School to join the 4th and 5th grades. The 1st and second grades are in the Henry E. Warren Elementary School and kindergarten in the William Pittaway School

Points of interest

John Stone's Inn

Built in 1832 by Captain John Stone, John Stone's Inn, now known as Stone's Public House, is located in the center of Ashland. Stone's is on the list of allegedly haunted places in America. According to legend, the Inn was the site of a murder when Stone accidentally killed a salesman named Mike McPherson [Retalic, David.] who he believed was cheating at cards. Stone and the three friends with whom he had been playing swore to keep the event secret and buried the salesman's body in the Inn's basement.

The legend contends that the ghosts of the salesman and the three other players involved all roam the inn. [Belanger, Jeff.]

Annual events

Ashland Day is annually held on a Saturday in September each year. The main event occur near the center of the town at Stone Park, with events at the park lasting from the morning until the afternoon. Festivities include a number of booths and various carnival-like rides. The athletic clubs and organizations of the town and of the schools use the day to as an annual fund raising event. Mainly, the day allows for residents and those that may have moved away to return to enjoy a day of fun and great food. Nearly every year there are fireworks atop the dam at Hopkinton State Park (the dam is in Ashland). Ashland Day has only been canceled once, due to inclement weather, in 2004.


The Nyanza Color and Chemical Company had a dye-manufacturing plant in Ashland. In 1971, the factory was identified as a hazard when pollution was discovered in the nearby Sudbury River. The site was placed on the Superfund National Priority List in 1982 when heavy metals and organochlorides were discovered in the soil and water near the site. It was also deemed probable that particles of mercuric sulfate were blown into the air. Cleaning up the contaminated site cost residents $55 million, and is still not complete as of 2008. The estates of the Nyanza executives were charged for the cleanup.

In 2006, the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health released a study that found that people who grew up in Ashland between the late 1960s and early 1980s and swam in the waters near Nyanza had a 200-300% higher incidence of cancer than those who weren't exposed to the chemicals. [ [ Nyanza Color & Chemical Company Ashland, Massachusetts ] ]

ri Lakshmi Temple

Sri Lakshmi Temple is a large regional Hindu Temple located in Waverly Street and is the largest Hindu Temple in New England, being the home of worship for most Hindus in the region. Sri Lakshmi temple hosts several Hindu functions throughout the year.


Commuter rail service from Boston's South Station is provided by the MBTA with the Ashland station on its Framingham/Worcester Line. The station is accessible from either Pleasant St or from an access road off of Union St that runs behind Ashland Middle School.

Notable residents

*Gregg Carey, Contestant on Survivor Palau
*Michael Fabbri, Prosecutor in Neil Entwistle murder trial.
*Tom Sannicandro, (current) Massachusetts State Representative, 7th Middlesex
*Karen Spilka, (current) Massachusetts State Senator, 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk District
*Henry E. Warren, inventor of the machinery necessary for the electric clock.

ee also

*Greater Boston
*Open town meeting format

ee also

*Ashland High School
*Greater Boston
*Open town meeting format


External links

* [ Ashland official website]
* [ Ashland Police Department]
* [ Ashland Maps]

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