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Holliston, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Holliston Town Hall on the east border of the Town Green.
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°12′00″N 71°25′30″W / 42.2°N 71.425°W / 42.2; -71.425
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1659
Incorporated 1724
 - Type Open town meeting
 - Total 19.0 sq mi (49.3 km2)
 - Land 18.7 sq mi (48.5 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 188 ft (57 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 13,941
 - Density 745.5/sq mi (287.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01746
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-30700
GNIS feature ID 0618225

Holliston is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States in the Greater Boston area. The population was 13,801 at the 2000 census. It is part of the region known as MetroWest. Holliston is the only town in Middlesex County that borders both Norfolk and Worcester counties.



First Congregational Church of Holliston on the Town Green. This is the site of Holliston's original meeting house.
This is a 19th century depiction of Holliston's original meeting house built in 1725.

Holliston was first settled in 1659 by Massachusetts Bay Puritans. The town of Holliston was incorporated on December 3, 1724 by virtue of approval by the General Court petition requesting that "the western part of Sherborn be a Town." The name was taken in honor of Thomas Hollis, Esq. of London, England, a benefactor of Harvard College. The first town meeting was held at the house of Timothy Leland on December 23, 1724, "at which five selectmen and all other required officers were chosen." The town has grown from a community of a few hundred residents setting aside ten pounds per year for public education to a community of 13,801 with an annual budget of over $40 million including more than $23 million for a nationally recognized school system.[1]

In "Holliston" by Images of America and the Holliston Historical Society, it is written: An article in a local newspaper[2] in 1894 heralded the charms of Holliston as the quintessential New England village, which, the story said, sprang into existence solely due to the talent of its people. Perhaps this is so, for there was no great moment in history to mark the founding of this town. Holliston has become a reflection of the accomplishments of the inhabitants of this place for more than three hundred years, and although the town had to admit to no magnitude of greatness to rival Boston, Lexington, or Concord, Holliston did define itself as a home to heroes of the commonplace. The feature story of 1894 said:

"Many cities have sprung into existence because of their advantageous situations. The prosperity of Holliston is solely due to the genius of its people. A visit to such places stirs the blood, quickens the pulse and produces an enthusiastic desire to have a share in the developing good times. Massachusetts may be Whittier's land, and the region from Marblehead to Amesbury may be full of legendary and spectral armies, and witchdom, and Buddha knows what, but the imaginative and the poetical must submit to the rights of the commonplace. The commonplace is honeycombed with the uncommon heroisms of the patient, everyday existence that make up the life of such plucky towns as Holliston. These are the things the average man is most interested in. Average life is but a portfolio of views of struggles with the commonplaces of everyday existence" (Holliston 1997).

The town was once the largest producer of shoes in the United States.[3] Although many of the shoe factories have been lost by fires and other problems, the largest company, the Goodwill Shoe Company, still has remaining empty factories on Water Street, many of which are now used as artists' studios. Competition from overseas factories is largely to blame for the loss of the industry.

Holliston's Mudville neighborhood claims to be the location of the 1888 Ernest Lawrence Thayer poem, "Casey at the Bat," and maintains an ongoing rivalry with Stockton, California, which makes the same claim regarding the poem's setting.


The Legend of Balancing Rock

Holliston Balancing Rock

On the north side of Route 16 heading into Milford sits a large rock, some 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, 10 ft (3.0 m) in width, 6 ft (1.8 m) thick, and weighing easily over 5 tons (4.5 metric tons). The rock appears to be balanced precariously on an outcrop of granite ledge. In 1776, after the evacuation of Boston by the British troops, General George Washington led his army to New York via this route. Legend has it that, as the army came across this "Balancing Rock," many of the troops took the opportunity to have some fun and tried their best to tip over the rock. It is said that the General himself, quite amused at the spectacle, added his muscle in an attempt to push the rock off its natural pedestal. Their efforts — and those of many others over the years — were to no avail as Balancing Rock still stands today. Until recently, the rock sat at the edge of a private residence. However, in 2006, construction finished on the Balancing Rock development, a community for "active" adults over the age of 55.[4]

Holliston today

Once populated by farms up until the latter part of the nineteenth century, Holliston has now transformed itself into a bedroom community for Boston and the Route 128 technology belt. Holliston is known for its quaint Town Center with its Fiske's General Store , the Superette, numerous antique shops and boutiques, public library, town hall, and white-steepled churches. A surplus of white antique colonial, Greek revival, and Victorian homes with well-manicured lawns dot the landscape along Washington Street (Massachusetts Route 16), with Holliston Center and the Town Green wedged in between—a scene reminiscent of the distinctive New England character.

In Holliston, however, the average commute to work is quite long. On average, people spend 32.25 minutes each day getting to work, which is significantly higher than the national average. Being a small town, Holliston does not have a public transit system used by locals to get to and from work.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.3 km²), of which, 18.7 square miles (48.5 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it is water. Water covers 1.73% of the town's total area. The Charles River passes near the southern region of town.

It is located 24.6 mi (39.6 km) west of Boston and is within short driving distance of Interstate 495 and the Massachusetts Turnpike (part of Interstate 90). Massachusetts Route 16 and Massachusetts Route 126 pass through the town.

Adjacent towns

Holliston is located in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by:


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 13,801 people, 4,795 households, and 3,842 families residing in the town. The population density was 737.8 people per square mile (284.8/km²). There were 4,868 housing units at an average density of 260.2/sq mi (100.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.7% White, 0.9% African American, 0.9% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population. Ancestries of Holliston residents are reported to be Irish (29.4%), Italian (18.3%), English (17.8%), German (9.7%), French (5.6%), and Polish (5.6%).

There were 4,795 households out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.2% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.9% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the town the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

In 2007, the median income for a household in the town was $115,912, and the median income for a family was $168,464. Males had a median income of $105,408 versus $56,405 for females. The per capita income for the town was $42,137. As of the census of 2000, about 1.5% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

In 2009, 79% of Holliston residents age 25 and over held bachelor's degrees or higher and 35.8% held graduate or professional degrees.[6]


Holliston retains its original open town meeting form of government, in which registered voters act as the town's legislature. The town's day-to-day affairs are overseen by an elected Board of Selectmen with a Town Administrator.

County government: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
Register of Deeds: Eugene C. Brune
Register of Probate: Tara E. DeCristofaro
County Sheriff: James V. DiPaola
State government
State Representative(s): Carolyn Dykema (D)
State Senator(s): Karen E. Spilka (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Kelly A. Timilty (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-3rd District),
U.S. Senators: John Kerry (D), Paul G. Kirk (D)


Holliston High School Athletic Field

The Town of Holliston has a public school system which serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district include two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Public schools include: Sam Placentino Elementary School, Fred W. Miller Elementary School, Robert H. Adams Middle School, and Holliston High School.

Historical districts

  • Mudville
  • Brentwood
  • Braggville
  • Metcalf
  • East Holliston
  • Thomas Hollis Historical District
  • Phipps Hill
  • Gooch's Corner
  • "The Queens"
  • Inglewood
  • Winter Street
  • Lakeside
  • Downtown Holliston

Points of interest

  • Casey's Crossing The first train depot in Holliston, built in the 1840s. Today it's a family restaurant and pub.
  • Fatima Shrine, a restful haven in a peaceful rustic setting, Fatima Shrine is an oasis for prayer, reflection, and meditation. The rosary walk at Fatima Shrine is believed to be the world's largest rosary.
  • Fiske's General Store, founded in 1863, is a town gem. One of the few stores of its kind, it claims to sell "'most everything".
  • Highland Farm, offering apple-picking in a scenic orchard on rolling hills.
  • Lake Winthrop'Lake Winthrop', named for Governor John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Lake Winthrop is nearly 1-mile (1.6 km) in diameter and covers approximately 140 acres (57 ha) in surface area. It is written in town history that the Nipmuck tribe, a clan of the Algonquin Indians, lived on the southwestern shores of what we nowadays call Lake Winthrop. It was called Wennakeening, meaning “smile of the great spirit” or “pleasant smile” when the Nipmucks lived in the village of Musquit, near present-day Lake Grove Cemetery.[7] Today, Lake Winthrop offers fishing, kayaking, and swimming.
  • Outpost Farm
  • Upper Charles River Trail, a scenic, recreational path for bicycling, walking, cross-country skiing, roller-blading, and other non-motorized uses. When completed, the 20-mile (32 km) trail will connect Holliston to Ashland, Hopkinton, Milford, and Sherborn.
  • Holliston Mill Artist Studios, once the former factory of the Goodwill Shoe Company, the Holliston Mill is open around twice a year for open house expositions of the different artists and their work.
  • Apollo 14 Moon Tree, at the Holliston Police Department.
  • Winter Street one of the longest and oldest roads in Holliston. The street begins at the height of the Thomas Hollis Historic District and stretches all the way to Ashland Street. Some of the oldest houses in Holliston can be found on Winter Street.
  • First Congregational Church of Holliston - This is the site of Holliston's original meeting house.

Golf courses

  • Pinecrest Golf Club, 18-hole golf course offering a challenge to players of all levels. Rumor has it that there is gold buried under the 5th hole green.


  • Goodwill Park, playgrounds for children, tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields
  • Patoma Park, Stoddard Park's sister park offers woodland trails for hiking and recreational activities
  • Pleasure Point, located on Lake Winthrop with a beach, picnic area, playground, and boat launch
  • Stoddard Park, located on Lake Winthrop with a beach, picnic area, and recreational area

Annual events

Annual events include the Memorial Day Parade, Celebrate Holliston, the Holiday Stroll, summer concerts at the Town Hall, and an abundance of craft fairs and autumn festivals.

Local organizations

  • Holliston Business Association
  • Holliston Cable Access TV-8
  • Holliston Christian Preschool
  • Holliston Conservation Associates
  • Holliston Education Foundation
  • Holliston Garden Club
  • Holliston Historical Society
  • Holliston Lions Club
  • Holliston Newcomers Club
  • Holliston Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)
  • Holliston Pantry Shelf Board of Directors
  • Holliston Referral Hub
  • Holliston Sportsman Association
  • Washington Street Players
  • WHHB FM 99.9

Notable residents

Interesting Facts

Despite being only 0.9% African American, Holliston has produced two black NHL players, Mike Grier and Greg Mauldin.


  1. ^ [1]Town of Holliston
  2. ^ [2]Holliston Historical Society
  3. ^ [3]Historic American Buildings Survey, 2005
  4. ^ [4]Balancing Rock 55 Community Website
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  6. ^ [5]DP-2. Profile of Selected Social Characteristics: 2000
  7. ^ [6]Holliston NetNews

Further reading

External links

Holliston may refer to:

Place names




Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Holliston is a town in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts.

Get in

Holliston is approximately 6 miles south of Framingham. The town is reachable mainly by Route 16 (points east and west) and Route 126 (points north and south.)


Lake Winthrop has several parks around it, all located in the town of Holliston [1]

  • Pleasure Point, Pleasure Point Road (off of Winthrop Street), Phone: 508-429-2149. Open, but not staffed, year round. Pleasure Point features a small beach and a boat launch onto Lake Winthrop. $Parking fees required "in season"
  • Patoma Park, Norfolk Road (before Stoddard Park Road), Phone: 508-429-2149. Patoma Park, the twin park to Stoddard Park, features mainly hiking and exercise trails around Lake Winthrop.
  • Stoddard Park, Stoddard Park Road (off of Norfolk Road), Phone: 508-429-2149. Open, but not staffed, year round. Stoddard Park features a beach on Lake Winthrop, a gazebo, playing fields and trails that lead into Patoma Park. $Parking fees required "in season"
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