Winchendon, Massachusetts (map)
Winchendon is a small town in North Central Massachusetts, originally the country of the Pennacook Indians, and then the Nipnet/Nipmuck Tribe. It was granted by the House of Representatives as Ipswich Canada on June 10, 1735, to veterans/heirs of the 1690 expeditions against Canada, and officially incorporated as Winchendon on June 14, 1764.
Situated on the border of New Hampshire and nestled between Wachusett Mountain and Mount Monadnock, Winchendon is nicknamed "Toy Town" because of its toy manufacturing in its heyday period, from the mid-1800's to early 1900's. Winchendon is also known for its once properous manufacturing businesses of shingles, furniture and woodworking machinery. See timeline of Winchendon's history and the website of the Winchendon Historical Society.
In 1858, Henry David Thoreau traveled through Winchendon and mentioned the town three times in his diary on June 4. Many historical notables were born or have lived in Winchendon, including former Massachusetts governer William Barrett Washburn (1872-1874, founder of the Republican Party) and many Revolutionary War soliders who fought to defend the United States and several who aided in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Mark Halliday, Ph.D., a creative writing teacher at Ohio University, wrote a poem "about a small town, and the experience of riding through it. It's named after a small town in Massachusetts: Winchendon." Halliday asks, "What evening news could there be? In Winchendon..." Click here to read and/or hear Mr. Halliday's poem.
Today, Winchendon is home to about 9,500 residents - dominantly extended families and life long friends. While it is primarily a blue-collar, bedroom community, more and more young and middle-aged professionals are moving to Winchendon because of its affordable housing and small town qualities such as open space, friendly people and simple lifestyles.
The town is governed by a board of selectman (5 people) and a town manager.
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