Westminster is a suburban hill town in north central Massachusetts. Residential development of the town is based in both picturesque lakeside sites and in sections of town with vistas of nearby Wachusett Mountain. The town also features industrial and commercial activity in the form of family-run businesses and in corporate sites... Show all »
Westminster is a suburban hill town in north central Massachusetts. Residential development of the town is based in both picturesque lakeside sites and in sections of town with vistas of nearby Wachusett Mountain. The town also features industrial and commercial activity in the form of family-run businesses and in corporate sites within the town. Besides this native economic base, Westminster residents have the potential to commute to Boston which is 53 miles east, to Worcester 24 miles away, or to Leominster, just 6 miles east. Fitchburg also offers a commuter rail station with direct service to North Station, Boston. This access to the cultural and employment hub cities of Massachusetts makes Westminster a great bedroom community for those who enjoy a quiet town in the suburbs.
The early history of the town can be characterized by a series of starts and stops in development. What is now Westminster was initially used by Indians for hunting and fishing. English colonists then designated six-square miles of the area as Narragansett Township Number 2 and sixty acre parcels were granted to veterans and heirs of veterans of King Philips War in 1728. These early farmers founded a community in 1733, but didn't create permanent settlements until 1737.
After being garrisoned as an outpost in the French and Indian Wars during the 1740s, the community was incorporated as a town in 1759, but wasnt recognized as a town until 1770. Growth came throughout the 19th century. By 1820, Westminsters multitude of religious denominations forced the town to abandon the common practice of supporting a single minister with public taxes. The New Road to Fitchburg was built in 1835 and the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad reached town in 1848.
By 1900 there was electric streetcar service established from Fitchburg to Gardner through Westminster Center. In the early 20th century, townspeople made chairs, engaged in brick making and manufactured paper while a large influx of Finnish immigrants took over the old farms in town and settled in to an agricultural life.
Today, Westminster retains the country flavor of a typical New England town. The town center was spared from significant development when major industries relocated to Gardner or Fitchburg which both had better railroad access. This exodus enabled Westminster to keep its quaint small town charm.
Homes in Westminster are often set on large wooded lots of one or more acres. « Show less
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