Westford, MA

Town of Westford

Westford Historical Society

Paths of the Patriots
We will certainly never identify all the paths the Patriots took. Below you will find some of the places that echo with their footprints. See Paths of Patriots for more information.

Note: Private residences are only to be viewed from a public way.

Venue Description  
Fairview Cemetery
Main Street
1702
public      
Originally called the "East Burying Ground". The oldest tombstone is dated 1702 in this town-0wned cemetery at the corner of Main Street and Tadmuck Road.  

Meetinghouse
Tadmuc Hill
1724            

Gathering place for militia and also the starting place for the march to Ticonderoga.          

 
Pioneer Cemetery
Carlisle Road and
Old Lowell Road
1750
public    
Known as the Old Pioneer Burying Ground, some believe it was once a family burying ground. The last indigenous Native American from Westford, Simon, is buried here.  

Hillside Cemetery or
North Burying Ground
Depot Road
1753
public      

Also known as Nutting Road Cemetery, it is located at the corner of Nutting Road.  
Westlawn Cemetery
Concord Road
1750
public
Also known as West Burying Ground.  

Robinson Farm
Robinson Road
1775            

Home of Lt. Colonel John Robinson, who probably received the alarm between 3 and 5 a.m. Robinson would likely have been on the list of officers to most directly receive notice of the alarm, given his rank in Prescott's regiment. He set off for Concord, telling his hired man to follow with provisions. The Rev. Joseph Thaxter, Westford's candidate preacher, also hastened to the bridge "with a brace of pistols" upon hearing the alarm. Thaxter, Robinson and at least two other Westford men were involved that day. Peter Brown of Jonathan Minot's company said he was "call'd about day light, or a little after." Maj. Buttrick is said to have offered his command to Lt. Col. Robinson, a superior officer, but Robinson declined, knowing that very few of his own men were present. He politely indicated that he expected to serve directly as Buttrick's aide. At the site of the North Bridge, one shot was fired by a British soldier, which passed under Col. Robinson's arm and slightly wounded the side of Luther Blanchard, a fifer in the Acton Company.

 

West Burying Ground/Fairview Cemetery
Main Street
public

Grave of Colonel John Robinson (1735-1805) who served in the Revolution. Also Thomas Rogers is buried here.            

 

Westford Museum
Westford Common

Minutemen Company led by Jonathan Minot, who beat the drum at the bridge in Concord. The drumsticks were donated by his heirs to the Westford Museum in 1999.

 
Heritage Sites
Many sites of historical significance exist within the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area. Below are some that are of interest.
Venue Description  

Wright Cemetery
Groton Road
1819
public

Originally a family plot for the Wright family and their descendants, the town began caring for it in the early 19the century, until eventually the land was given to the town. It is now a National Register of Historic Places site.

 

Russian Cemetery
Patten Road
1918
private, but open to the public
           

Listed in 2005 on the National Register of Historic Places, this cemetary is dedicated to the Russian Immigrant population that lived and worked in the area.

 
Priority Landscapes
Westford's heritage landscape identification meetings were conducted in 2006 under the auspices of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in partnership with Freedom’s Way Heritage Association. Town residents, some of whom represented town boards and local non-profits, attended the meetings. Based upon the information gathered by com-munity members and the consultants to MDCR/FW, several priority landscapes were identified as highly valued and contributing to community character that needed to be permanently pro-tected or preserved. There are undoubtedly other heritage landscapes that were not identified during this process. Future planning meetings might select other sites. This list includes landscapes selected in 2006.
Venue Description  

Forge Village
           

Forge Village is an industrial village in the southwestern part of Westford that was established during the Colonial Period and remained an active manufacturing center into the 1950s. The village lies along the northern edge of Forge Pond, which provides the waterpower for the mills. Stony Brook, the outflow from the pond, flows north through the center of the village.

 

Graniteville
           

Graniteville is an industrial and residential area north of Forge Village that also owes its existence to the waterpower of Stony Brook and the presence of the railroad. The two primary architectural features are the Abbot Worsted Company Mill #1, a two-story granite building, and the C.G. Sargent Machine Shop, also of granite. The area also includes small-scale commercial buildings, a church, a school and many residential buildings, most dating from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century.

 

Red Line

The Red Line is an abandoned railroad right-of-way that runs through the western part of Westford in more or less a northwest-southeast direction. One of the most dramatic sections is the raised earthen trestle that carries the railroad over Stony Brook between Forge Village and Graniteville. The trestle is supported by a 20’ tall dry-laid stone arch bridge over the brook, built with massive blocks of local granite.        

 

Snake Meadow Hill

Snake Meadow Hill, located just west of Graniteville, was the site of many of Westford’s 19th century granite quarries. The southeastern portion of the hill is included in the Graniteville National Register district. In Westford’s 2002 Open Space and Recreation Plan it was recommended that a nomination for an Area of Critical Environmental Concern be prepared for this area because of its size, value as wildlife habitat, historical significance, proximity to other large parcels of open space and the likely occurrence of rare species.

 

Stony Brook

Stony Brook begins at the outflow to Forge Pond in Forge Village and meanders northeasterly through the Mill Pond in Graniteville and through several smaller ponds and eventually flows into Chelmsford. It is narrow and somewhat channelized in some places and widens out into broad marshes in others. North of Graniteville, Stony Brook flows primarily through backland and is not highly visible, although there are a few crossings where long distance views are possible. The high granite-arched bridge that carries the Red Line over Stony Brook is one of the most dramatic viewing points.

 

Town Center

Westford Center is the residential and civic center of the community. It contains a variety of institutional, commercial and residential buildings including churches, schools, library, town hall, police/fire station and museum. The focal point is the large triangular common with rows of mature deciduous trees, lush green lawn and many monuments. The majority of the buildings are residences, most dating from the 19th and early 20th century. They represent a range of styles popular from that period. Many of the houses are set on large lots of more than an acre, have extant carriage houses or barns and mature plantings. Westford Center presents an overall impression of a cohesive, affluent well-maintained New England village.

 

Portions of the above text have been excerpted from the Westford Reconnaissance Report, part of the Freedom’s Way Landscape inventory of 22 Freedom’s Way communities. The full text can be downloaded at: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/histland/essex.htm
See individual reports and maps by town name.

We are grateful for the many volunteers who have supplied entries for the town pages. If you wish to volunteer additional information for your town, please contact the Freedom's Way office or mail@freedomsway.org