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Brookfield, Massachusetts
Central Street in 1908
Central Street in 1908
Official seal of Brookfield, Massachusetts
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Worcester
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1718
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 16.6 sq mi (42.9 km2)
 • Land 15.5 sq mi (40.2 km2)
 • Water 1.1 sq mi (2.7 km2)
714 ft (218 m)
 • Total 3,439
 • Density 207.2/sq mi (80.16/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-09105
GNIS feature ID 0618358

Brookfield is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Brookfield was first settled by Europeans in 1660. The population was 3,439 at the 2020 census.


Capture of Brookfield by Nipmucks in 1675

Brookfield was first settled in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1718. The town was settled by men from Ipswich as part of the Quaboag Plantation lands.

In August 1675, King Philip's War reached central Massachusetts. Brookfield, one of the most isolated settlements in the colony, was attacked by Nipmuck forces. After an ambush the town was besieged. For two days the townsfolk, consisting of 80 people, sought shelter in the garrison house while the rest of the town was completely destroyed. The settlement lay abandoned for twelve years.

During the winter of 1776, General Henry Knox passed through the town with cannon from Fort Ticonderoga to end the Siege of Boston. A marker along Route 9 commemorates his route.

Washington's visit

Across from the former Brookfield Inn on West Main Street (Route 9) is a memorial that designates this part of the road as the George Washington Memorial Highway. In 1789, the first president of the United States traveled through five of the New England states. This tour has become the basis for all of the “George Washington slept here” claims—and although Washington watered his horses here, he never slept in Brookfield. It seems his party would have spent the night in Brookfield except that the innkeeper, Mrs. Bannister, was in bed with a terrible headache. When awakened, she mistook him for a college president and sent him on to the neighboring town of Spencer. On learning of her mistake, she supposedly said: "Bless me! One look at that good man would have cured my aching head.”

Other Brookfields

Lands of the town have given rise to three others - North Brookfield in 1812, West Brookfield in 1848, and East Brookfield in 1920.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which 15.5 square miles (40 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 6.34%, is water. Brookfield is bounded on the northwest, north and east by towns that were formerly part of it: West Brookfield, North Brookfield, and East Brookfield, respectively; on the south by Sturbridge and a short, 0.33-mile (0.5 km) stretch of Brimfield; and on the southwest by Warren. Brookfield is 18 miles (29 km) west of Worcester, 30 miles (48 km) east-northeast of Springfield, and 57 miles (92 km) west of Boston.

The town is located in the southwest part of Worcester County, along the Quaboag River. The river is bordered by swampy lands, and several areas around it are protected as wildlife management areas. Along the East Brookfield border lie two large ponds which are part of the river, Quaboag Pond to the north and Quacumquasit Pond to the south, extending into Sturbridge. There are also several small brooks running into these waterways, and the land around the town is mostly flat, with some small hills in the southern half of town.

The town lies at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 148. The town also lies along the Lake Shore Limited route of Amtrak's rail service between Worcester and Springfield, though there is no stop between the two cities. Freight rail traffic also follows this line. The town lies just north of Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) near its junction with Interstate 84 at Exit 9. In fact, this intersection is the closest exit along the Pike to town, 10 miles (16 km) away to the south, with Palmer's exit being 15 miles (24 km) to the west, and Auburn's exit (at Interstate 395) being 22 miles (35 km) to the east. The nearest municipal airport is located in Southbridge, and the nearest national air service can be reached at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,674 —    
1860 2,276 +36.0%
1870 2,527 +11.0%
1880 2,823 +11.7%
1890 3,352 +18.7%
1900 3,062 −8.7%
1910 2,204 −28.0%
1920 2,216 +0.5%
1930 1,352 −39.0%
1940 1,393 +3.0%
1950 1,567 +12.5%
1960 1,751 +11.7%
1970 2,063 +17.8%
1980 2,397 +16.2%
1990 2,968 +23.8%
2000 3,051 +2.8%
2010 3,390 +11.1%
2020 3,439 +1.4%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie K. Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): Donnie Berthiaume (R)
State Senator(s): Anne M. Gobi (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): 1st District
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

By the 2010 census, the population had reached 3,390.

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,051 people, 1,204 households, and 857 families residing in the town. The population density was 196.5 people per square mile (75.9/km2). There were 1,302 housing units at an average density of 83.9 per square mile (32.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.10% White, 0.20% African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.03% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.

There were 1,204 households, out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. Of all households 23.8% were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.9% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,655, and the median income for a family was $54,519. Males had a median income of $38,806 versus $29,155 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,144. About 3.8% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.


The public library in Brookfield began in the 1860s. In fiscal year 2008, the town of Brookfield spent 1.49% ($106,066) of its budget on its public library—some $35 per person.


Brookfield Elementary School, serving grades K–6, has its own school committee, part of School Union 61. Brookfield students attend Tantasqua Regional Junior High School (grades 7–8) and Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge. Union 61 and the Tantasqua district share administrators, including the superintendent, and both include Brimfield, Brookfield, Holland, Sturbridge and Wales.

Notable people

Tip Top Country Store Brookfield Center
Tip Top Country Store in Brookfield Center
  • William Appleton, congressman
  • John Brooks, Jr., military officer during the War of 1812
  • Asa Danforth, highway engineer
  • Arthur Louis Day, geological physicist
  • William B. Draper, importer and bank president
  • Theodore Foster, politician
  • Mary Jane Hawes, author
  • Albert R. Howe, congressman
  • Harrison Hunter, actor
  • Pliny T. Merrick, attorney and judge
  • Joseph Read, soldier
  • George B. Upham, congressman
  • Jabez Upham, congressman

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