Sturbridge is a vibrant town located at the crossroads of New England. Long before the first English settlers came to Massachusetts, the Native Americans called this place Tantiousques and knew it well as the place where the Bay Path and the Connecticut Path met. Today these early thoroughfares have been replaced by the Massachusetts Turnpike, Routes 20 and 131 and Interstate 84, and many travelers still pass through our town each day.
Identified by the English as early as 1640 as a place where valuable graphite (or lead) could be mined, after two unsuccessful requests the General Court was finally convinced by the early land owners or "proprietors" that this rough land could be farmed, and Sturbridge was incorporated in 1738.
The first settlers built small saw mills and gristmills along the Quinebaug River, and soon after the industrial revolution began, larger factories were constructed in the Fiskdale and Westville villages of Sturbridge.
This industrial growth away from Sturbridge Center has preserved this area much as it appeared in 1840. In a book published in 1942 on the old bay paths, the author wrote: "Sturbridge is an unspoiled village, a rare example of what New England villages ought to be. Its shaded green is unmarred by filling pumps or other unsightly encumbrances." The Common area has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Sturbridge citizens continue to work to preserve this jewel today.
Since 1946 Sturbridge has been well known as the home of Old Sturbridge Village, and tourism has become an important part of our economy. Excellent restaurants including the historic Publick House, which has been the focal point of the Sturbridge Common since 1771, numerous antiques and craft shops and many comfortable motels, inns and bed and breakfasts await our visitors.
While the old textiles mills are gone, many new industries have come to Sturbridge in the past fifty years, which helps to keep our tax rate stable while providing employment opportunities for our residents. Sturbridge businesses play leadership roles in fiber optics, laser technology, environmental products, plastics, machining and metal fabrication.
We have an excellent school system, a strong industrial and commercial tax base and caring and committed town employees. Sturbridge is a great place in which to live or work, and we welcome you to our community.