Westborough, Massachusetts

Westborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Incorporated in 1717, the town is governed now under the New England open town meeting system, headed by a 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.

Before recorded time, the area now known as Westborough was a well-travelled crossroads. As early as 7,000 B.C., prehistoric people in dugout canoes followed the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers to their headwaters in search of quartzite for tools and weapons. The early English explorer John Oldham followed these trails through Westborough in 1633, with settlers in search of fertile farmlands following not long after. By late 1675, a few families had settled near Lake Chauncy, in the “west borough” of Marlborough.

The industrial progress of the entire United States is indebted to Westborough’s most famous native son, Eli Whitney, Jr. Born in 1765, Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1795 after graduating from Yale. In 1798, he introduced mass production to the United States at his Whitney Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut. Whitney’s legacy is evident in the modern industries located within the town’s borders: AstraZeneca, Dover Electric, Proteon, Genzyme, EMC Corporation, IBM, PFPC, Bose Corporation and the global headquarters of American Superconductor.

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