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Stow, Massachusetts
Town center of Stow
Town center of Stow
Official seal of Stow, Massachusetts
"A place for growing up in and a place for coming back to"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°26′13″N 71°30′22″W / 42.43694°N 71.50611°W / 42.43694; -71.50611Coordinates: 42°26′13″N 71°30′22″W / 42.43694°N 71.50611°W / 42.43694; -71.50611
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled c. 1660
Established 1669
Incorporated May 16, 1683
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 18.1 sq mi (46.9 km2)
 • Land 17.6 sq mi (45.6 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
231 ft (70 m)
 • Total 7,174
 • Density 407.6/sq mi (157.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-68050
GNIS feature ID 0618236

Stow is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is located 21 miles west of Boston, in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. The population was 7,174 at the 2020 United States Census. Stow was officially incorporated in 1683 with an area of approximately 40 square miles. Over centuries it gave up land as newer, smaller towns were created, ceding land to Harvard (1732), Shirley (1765), Boxborough (1783), Hudson (1866) and Maynard (1871). Stow now has an area of 18.1 square miles (47 km2). With the exception of factories at Assabet Village and Rock Bottom (later Maynard and Gleasondale), Stow was primarily sparsely settled farm and orchard land until the 1950s.


Stow was officially incorporated in 1683. The earliest Colonial settlers, c. 1660, were Matthew Boon and John Kettell. Coming from Gloucester and Charlestown, Massachusetts, these two men settled the land of the Tantamous (Jethro) Native Americans, called "Pompocitticut". Boon settled by a large body of water (later bearing his name: Lake Boon), upon a hill (also bearing his name: Boon Hill), with a vast tract of land surrounding him. It is said that he traded all this for a single jackknife. He lived on what is now known as Barton Road. A monument bearing his name is located on the plot of land he formerly resided on.

John Kettell took up residence in a portion of land in the southwestern corner of Stow, where the flatness helped with farming and its proximity to the Lancaster Garrison House (in present-day Bolton, owned by Reverend Joseph Rowlandson) house proved vital in later years. John, who brought his wife, Elizabeth Allen of Salem, Massachusetts, and three children: Elizabeth, Mary, Samuel, and James (the only one born in Stow in 1665), proceeded to trade with the natives and farm the land, though very little is known for fact.

Both families were involved in King Philip's War in 1676. Boon sent his family to the Sudbury Garrison House, then proceeded to return home with one of his sons and a neighbor. All three were killed. Little, if anything, is known about the remaining Boon family, but they did survive the initial attack.

John Kettell sent his family to the Lancaster Garrison, which was also attacked and burned. The natives took twenty captives, including Mary Rowlandson (a well-known captive, the wife of Rev. Rowlandson who wrote narratives of her captivity), Mrs. Rowlandson’s sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Kettell (John Kettell's wife), and some children. All twenty were ransomed by John Hoar of Concord for £20 after several months of the native life style. The Kettell family, once reunited, moved back to Salem, Massachusetts after selling their farm.

As with many colonial era Massachusetts towns, Stow started with a large area and gave up land as newer, smaller towns were created. Stow ceded land to Harvard (1732), Shirley (1765), Boxborough (1783) and Hudson (1866). In 1871, Stow lost 1300 acres (5.3 km2) and close to half its population to the creation of Maynard. Prior to that, what became Maynard was known as "Assabet Village" but was legally still part of the towns of Stow and Sudbury. There were some exploratory town-founding rumblings in 1870, followed by a petition to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, filed January 26, 1871. Both parent towns opposed this effort, but state approval was granted April 19, 1871. In return, the new town paid Sudbury and Stow about $23,600 and $8,000 respectively. Sudbury got more money because it owned shares in the railroad, plus the wool mill and paper mill were in Sudbury, and more land came from Sudbury. The population of the newly formed town - at 1,820 - was larger than either of its parent towns.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.1 square miles (47 km2), of which 17.6 square miles (46 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (2.60%) is water. It is located in eastern/central Massachusetts.

Stow borders the towns of Harvard, Boxborough, Acton, Maynard, Sudbury, Hudson, and Bolton.


The village of Gleasondale is in both Hudson and Stow. An 1856 map shows Rock Bottom as an earlier name for Gleasondale - purportedly, when construction of a larger mill was underway, the workers on the foundation announced that they had hit 'rock bottom,' i.e., solid rock. The same map shows Assabet as a village on the eastern border - this became the center of the Town of Maynard in 1871. The original development of Stow - a mile east of the current center, became known as Lower Village after a meeting hall, and later, churches, were built to the west. The old cemetery on Route 117/62 is officially Lover Village Cemetery.


See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,455 —    
1860 1,641 +12.8%
1870 1,813 +10.5%
1880 1,045 −42.4%
1890 903 −13.6%
1900 1,002 +11.0%
1910 1,115 +11.3%
1920 1,101 −1.3%
1930 1,142 +3.7%
1940 1,243 +8.8%
1950 1,700 +36.8%
1960 2,573 +51.4%
1970 3,984 +54.8%
1980 5,144 +29.1%
1990 5,328 +3.6%
2000 5,902 +10.8%
2010 6,590 +11.7%
2020 7,174 +8.9%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
Stow MA First Parish Church
First Parish Church

As of the census of 2018, there were 7,214 people, 2,575 households, and 2,090 families residing in the town. The population density was 380.6 people per square mile (144.5/km2). There were 2,526 housing units at an average density of 143.5 per square mile (55.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.8% White, 2.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 3.9% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.

There were 2,575 households, out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.7% were married couples living together, 2.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.7% were non-families. The householder of 17.4% of all households were living alone and 16.7% was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 people and the average family size was 3.10 people.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 28.2% under the age of 20, 24.6% from 20 to 44, 34.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.5 years. For every 100 males there were 103.1 females. For every 100 males age 18 and over, there were 106.8 females.

As of 2015, the median income for a household in the town was $137,551, and the median income for a family was $153,763. The per capita income for the town was $51,081. About 2.7% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest


Stow may be best known for its numerous golf courses, having 4 courses and 81 total holes of golf in town. The best known of these is Stow Acres Country Club, the site of the 1995 US Amateur Public Links Championship. Numerous times it has been ranked among the best public courses in the state and boasts a top 50 pro shop for public pro shops nationally.

Apple orchards

Stow is also well known for its numerous apple orchards and is a popular weekend destination for families during apple picking season.

Fire education

Stow is home to the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. Future firefighters come here to train to become a firefighter at the minimum age of 18.

Notable people

  • Matthew Tobin Anderson, known as M. T. Anderson, an author primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults; he currently lives in Cambridge, MA.
  • Tom Barrasso, former NHL goaltender, grew up in Stow, played high school hockey for Acton-Boxborough, and went directly from high school to NHL.
  • Dan Duquette, former general manager of the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox and current general manager (2011–present) with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Chris Fleming, Stand-up comedian and youtuber
  • Henry Gardner, first receiver-general/state treasurer of Massachusetts from 1774 until his death in 1782. His grandson Henry J. Gardner served as governor from 1855 to 1858.
  • Kate Hogan, Massachusetts State Representative for Third Middlesex District since January 2009.
  • Grace Metalious, of "Peyton Place" fame. Her husband taught school in Stow after moving from Gilmanton, New Hampshire, where they had lived while she wrote her book; it is not clear whether she ever lived in Stow, as biographies state that they separated about the time the book was published.
  • Lee H. Pappas, publisher of high-tech publications, including ANALOG Computing, PC Laptop, VideoGames & Computer Entertainment, and TurboPlay
  • Samuel Parris, Puritan minister who preached in Stow during the summer of 1685 and later played a role in the Salem witch trials
  • John Witt Randall, poet, naturalist, and art collector.
  • George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State (1982–1989), lived in Stow when he was teaching at MIT.
  • Patricia Walrath, former Massachusetts State Representative (1985–2009) for Third Middlesex District, before that a Stow Selectman.
  • Austin Warren, literary critic, author, and professor of English
  • Jeremy Reiner, chief meteorologist for WHDH (TV)
  • Ethan Anthony, attended public schools in Stow, architect
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