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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts facts for kids

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Town of Shrewsbury
Homestead of General Artemas Ward
Homestead of General Artemas Ward
Official seal of Town of Shrewsbury
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 1722
Incorporated 1727
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Total 21.7 sq mi (56.1 km2)
 • Land 20.7 sq mi (53.7 km2)
 • Water 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
668 ft (204 m)
 • Total 38,325
 • Density 1,851.4/sq mi (713.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 69-60165
GNIS feature ID 0619489

Shrewsbury (/ˈʃruzberi/ SHROOZ-bury) is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Shrewsbury, unlike the surrounding towns of Grafton, Millbury, Westborough, Northborough, Boylston, and West Boylston did not become a mill town or farming village; most of its 19th-century growth was due to its proximity to Worcester and visitors to Lake Quinsigamond. The population was 38,325 according to the 2020 United States Census, in nearly 15,000 households.

Incorporated in 1727, the town is governed now under the New England representative town meeting system, headed by the Town Manager and five-member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various administrative positions, and calling a town meeting of citizens annually or whenever the need arises.


First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury MA
First Congregational Church

The Town of Shrewsbury, named for Shrewsbury, England, is a suburban community with an uneven and hilly terrain cut by a number of minor streams providing several small water power sites. Grants of land were made in what would eventually be the town beginning in 1664, with the 3,200-acre (13 km2) grant called Haynes Farm as the largest. Settlers came primarily from Sudbury and Marlborough, and the first permanent settler was Gersham Wheelock in 1720. As a town, Shrewsbury was first settled in 1722 and officially incorporated in 1727.

Townspeople created an agricultural economy with apple orchards, and by 1750, there were two stores and four taverns as well as several small industries in operation. The rapid fall of prices for agricultural goods, the shortage of hard currency, and the general economic depression following the Revolutionary War produced disastrous conditions for colonists. Shays' Rebellion in 1786 sought to close the courts to prevent debt collections and the foreclosure of mortgages. Shrewsbury became a staging area for the rebellion and the encampment of the more than 400 insurgents, before the march on the Worcester Court House.

A leather industry began in 1786 in Shrewsbury, and town farmers developed large cattle herds to support the manufacture of boots and shoes. This was followed by the establishment of gunsmithing operations in 1797, which produced rifles, shotguns and pistols and eventually cutlery. Luther Goddard began in 1809 by making brass clocks and then established a small watch factory employing a few skilled Swiss and English watchmakers. Lumbering created sawmills, and they in turn drew chair and cabinet makers, plow and wagon builders.

The development of streetcar routes in the 19th century spurred the growth of single-family housing in town. A summer resort population on Lake Quinsigamond became consumers of the market garden produce grown by town farmers. As Shrewsbury's industry was killed off by the lack of large waterpower sites and the tardy arrival of the railroad, its role as a suburb of Worcester grew more important. The town's population doubled from 1915 to 1940 as continued streetcar suburb growth brought more modern settlers into the community. Other modern developments included an increased number of lakeside cottages, ethnic clubs and recreational areas on the lake. The economy of modern Shrewsbury has been described as depending on agriculture, the resort industry and the providing of recreation and food for the population of Worcester.

Registered Historic Places

Shrewsbury is home to three current and one former Nationally Registered Historic Places:


Shrewsbury is a suburb of Worcester, about 45 minutes from Boston and 10 minutes to downtown Worcester.

The town has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56 km2), of which, 20.7 square miles (54 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (4.25%) is water.

Adjacent cities and towns


Climate data for Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F 64 70 83 90 97 96 96 98 96 86 78 69 98
Average high °F 33 36 44 55 68 76 81 79 71 61 50 38 57.7
Average low °F 15 17 26 37 48 57 63 61 52 40 32 22 39.2
Record low °F −26 −15 −6 13 28 34 42 36 28 18 9 −10 -26
Precipitation inches 4.20 3.48 4.27 4.36 3.94 3.93 3.80 4.26 4.11 4.33 4.46 3.99 49.13
Record high °C 17.8 21.1 28.3 32.2 36.1 35.6 35.6 36.7 35.6 30 25.6 20.6 -17.8
Average high °C 0.6 2.2 6.7 12.8 20 24.4 27.2 26.1 21.7 16.1 10 3.3 14.26
Average low °C -9.4 -8.3 -3.3 2.8 8.9 13.9 17.2 16.1 11.1 4.4 0 -5.6 3.98
Record low °C -32.2 -26.1 -21.1 -10.6 -2.2 1.1 5.6 2.2 -2.2 -7.8 -12.8 -23.3 -17.8
Precipitation mm 106.7 88.4 108.5 110.7 100.1 99.8 96.5 108.2 104.4 110 113.3 101.3 1,247.9


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,596 —    
1860 1,558 −2.4%
1870 1,610 +3.3%
1880 1,500 −6.8%
1890 1,449 −3.4%
1900 1,626 +12.2%
1910 1,946 +19.7%
1920 3,708 +90.5%
1930 6,910 +86.4%
1940 7,586 +9.8%
1950 10,594 +39.7%
1960 16,622 +56.9%
1970 19,196 +15.5%
1980 22,674 +18.1%
1990 24,146 +6.5%
2000 31,640 +31.0%
2010 35,608 +12.5%
2020 38,325 +7.6%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

By the 2020 census, the population had reached 38,325.

As of the 2020 Census, there were 38,325 people, the racial makeup of the town was 64.1% White, 2.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 24.6% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 6.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.2% of the population.

As of the 2020 Census there were 14,966 households, out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. Of all households 25.3% were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54, and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.6% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $109,000 and the median income for a family was $124,000 (as of the 2010 census). Males had a median income of $56,259 versus $37,129 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,570. About 3.3% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


1899 Shrewsbury public library Massachusetts
Shrewsbury Public Library, 1899

The Shrewsbury Public Library was established in 1872. In fiscal year 2008, the town of Shrewsbury spent 1.4% ($1,164,563) of its budget on its public library — about $34 per town resident. Following the 1978 library expansion project, another expansion was needed. In 2004 and 2010, officials completed research showing inadequate space, poorly maintained roofs and heating/cooling systems, lack of handicap accessibility, and a growing demand for library services. In 2010, a project was proposed that would create a new 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m2) facility for a total of approximately $19 million. The main library closed to enable construction of the new building and opened in temporary accommodation at 214 Lake Street on 26 October 2014. As of June 15, 2016, construction on the expansion project was substantially complete and work on punch list items was ongoing.

The new library celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 21, 2016.

Notable businesses

  • Hebert Candies, where white chocolate was first produced in the United States.
  • The now-defunct Spag's, the original all-purpose store, which predated Costco, Walmart and other similar outlets. Spag's was noted for its unorthodox inventory and discount prices. Upon the death of its founder, Anthony Borgatti, Spag's succumbed to the competition of the modern megastore and the challenges of handing over the reins to a new generation and was acquired in 2002 by Building 19. The location became Spags 19, and in 2004 the store was converted to the Building 19 format. It has since closed. The site has been developed as Lakeview Commons and Whole Foods Market, Starbucks and Burtons Grill have opened here.
  • The now-defunct White City amusement park, now the site of a shopping plaza. Petco relocated from the opposite side of Route 9 to this plaza in Spring 2015.


Shrewsbury High School 01
Shrewsbury High School
Ryken Center, St Johns High School, Shrewsbury MA
St. John's High School

Shrewsbury Public Schools is the public school district in the town. Schools in the district include Shrewsbury High School, two middle schools, four elementary schools, one early childhood school for kindergarten and grade one, and one preschool. These schools are Beal Early Childhood Center (preschool to 1st grade), Major Howard W. Beal School (grades 1–4), Floral Street School (grades 1–4), Spring Street School (grades 1–4), Walter J. Paton Elementary School (grades 2–4), Calvin Coolidge Elementary School (grades 1–4), Sherwood Middle School (grades 5–6), Oak Middle School (grades 7–8), and the Shrewsbury High School.

Non-public schools in town include Shrewsbury Montessori, a private school offering programs for Pre-K through grade 6; St. Mary's School, a Catholic parochial school for Pre-K through grade 8; and Saint John's High School, a private Xaverian Brothers–sponsored high school.

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See also

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