From its humble beginnings in the mid-1600s, to its now thriving, diverse population of over 71,000, Framingham has changed and grown significantly in its 300-plus years.
John Stone was 1st to settle in Framingham in 1647, where he had a corn mill in operation on the Sudbury River. Other pioneers soon followed and began raising families on the 15,000 acres granted to Thomas Danforth by the Colonial government. People fleeing persecution from the Salem witch trials came to Framingham and settled in what is now the Salem End Road area. By 1700, there were 76 families living and farming in Framingham.
Post Revolutionary War
Following the Revolutionary War, Framingham became a stopping place for the Stage Coach line, which allowed businesses to prosper in the centre common area. The steam engine soon followed and was built through the less-developed south end of the city, which led to a growth of business and industrial activity in the downtown area.
Industry in Framingham
Industry in Framingham has grown and changed dramatically from John Stone’s grist mill in the 1690s. The Dennison Manufacturing Company came here in the late 1800’s, joining the Saxonville Mills and the Para Rubber Shoe company as major employers in Framingham. Manufacturing has been a foundation to the Framingham economy; General Motors opened an automobile production center in 1945, and companies such as Bose and Avery-Dennison continue to play a large role in the economy. Framingham is now a retail center for the region, housing such corporations as TJX.
Framingham has been the center of important health studies as well. In 1917, Framingham was chosen as the site of "The Tuberculosis Demonstration", and in 1948, "The Framingham Heart Study" began.
Education in Framingham has always been important. In 1853, the first public normal school in America, established in 1839 in Lexington by Horace Mann and Cyrus Peirce, was relocated to Framingham. Framingham State University was founded in 1839, and MassBay Community College has a campus in Framingham as well.
Today, Framingham's diversity, broad neighborhood choices, and its great schools keep the city vital and moving forward, with an eye to the future.