Originally called the “Northeast Quarter”, Hubbardston was part of Rutland until it was incorporated as a separate town in 1767. It was named for Thomas Hubbard, a prominent Bostonian who served several years as the Massachusetts Speaker of the House of Representatives and was the treasurer of Harvard College for 17 years.
Hubbard was an extensive landowner in several central Massachusetts towns. Tradition says that in view of the honor of giving his name to the town, he promised to provide the glass for the windows of the first meeting house built in town. To make his liberality more conspicuous, the people planned for extra windows. Hubbard died in 1773, and his estate was so complicated that the town of Hubbardston received nothing and was obliged to glaze the windows at its own expense.
The first settler was Eleazer Brown, who came from Rutland in 1737. Mr. Brown was provided 60 acres by the proprietors and operated a hotel used by surveyors and trappers passing through this wilderness. Until 1746, Mr. Brown and his wife were the only inhabitants of Hubbardston. After Eleazer’s death (it is said that he was killed by a deer), Mrs. Brown was the only occupant of town for several years and kept a public house for prominent travelers. In 1749 Israel Green moved into Hubbardston. His daughter, Molly Green, is reported to be the first child born in Hubbardston. Mr. Green was the first chairman of the board of selectmen.
The town’s early economy was based on agriculture and small-scale chair, boot, and shoe manufacturing. It is described by historians as a poor town, sparsely settled and almost wholly agricultural, but having sawmills, potash works, and cottage industries such as the making of palm leaf hats. Dairy and berry farming and market gardening were major pursuits in the town.
The Hubbardston Public Library was founded in 1872, and originally housed its collection of books in the local Mechanics Hall. In 1874, Jonas G. Clark, a native of Hubbardston and founder of Clark University, purchased the Main Street property and funded the construction of the brick and stone library building.
The building is in the Second Empire/Italianate style and was designed by Elbridge Boyden and Son, of Worcester. In September 1875, the Hubbardston Public Library opened the doors at its 7 Main Street location, where you can find it today. The first floor was originally half library, half post office, hence the painted plaques you might notice flanking the front door. The gallery level was added to the rear of the building in 1929. Many residents recall the gallery’s original translucent glass floor. The property underwent a historical restoration project in 2000 to address many of its needed repairs and is looking quite grand for its age.
Hubbardston is home to the invention of the first backhoe swing frame developed in July 1947 by Vaino J. Holopainen (pronounced “Waino”) and Roy E. Handy, Jr., (thus the company name “Wain-Roy”) and assigned to Wain-Roy Corporation of Hubbardston, MA. In July 1948, patent # 2,698,697 was filed by Vaino J. Holopainen.
Today, Hubbardston, MA is a quintessential country town where people value the pristine, quiet surroundings. The community is well run by dedicated local officials and the school system provides an excellent education for the children. The Hubbardston Center School is located in down town Hubbardston and the Quabbin Regional School is located in Barre.
The town has wonderful activities including the Barre Falls Dam; the Hubbardston Recreation area with ballfields, playgrounds, and a skateboard park; Asnacomet Pond (Comet Pond) with a boat launch, beaches, and fishing; Mare Meadow Reservoir for amazing fishing; and the Country Hen, which has great organic eggs.
Come take a ride through this bucolic country town and discover a beautiful community steeped in local history.
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