Middleborough, Massachusetts

Middleborough, also known as Middleboro is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. First settled by Europeans in 1661 as Nemasket, later changed to Middlebury, the town was officially incorporated as Middleborough in 1669. The name Nemasket came from a Native American settlement along the small river that now bears the same name. Nemasket may have meant “place of fish,” due to the large amount of herring that migrate up the river each spring. The name Middlebury was taken from a place in England, later changed to the Middleborough.

During King Philip’s War (1675–76), the town’s entire populace took shelter within a fort constructed along the Nemasket River. The site is located behind the old junior high school (now a kindergarten) and is marked by a state historical commission marker. Before long, the fort was abandoned and the population withdrew to the Plymouth Colony.

Once called the “shoe capital of the world,” Middleborough is still home to the Alden Shoe Company. Middleborough has since become the cranberry capital of the world, hosting the corporate headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberries. Notable sights include the 1870s Victorian-style town hall, the Greek revival-style town library (1903) and in the spring, the Nemasket River Alewife and Blueback herring run upstream to spawn. In recent history, Middleborough has made its mark through the prowess of its Little League Baseball program.

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