Holliston Massachusetts, 1890

Holliston is a pleasant agricultural and manufacturing town, 6 miles southwest of Boston, and forming the southern extremity of Middlesex County. The form of the territory is irregular, its mass occupying a northeast and southwest position, with the greatest breadth in the northeast section. The four villages, East Holliston, Holliston centre, Metcalf and Braggville, are situated nearly along the line of greatest length. All are post-offices, and are connected by the Milford Branch with the Boston and Albany Railroad at Framingham.

Hopkinton, Ashland and Sherborn lie on the north of this town, the first and last being also on the east and west respectively; with Medway on the southeast and Milford on the southwest. The assessed area is 11,269 acres; of which 3,856 acres are forest, consisting of chestnut, oak, pine, birch and maple. The surface is uneven, though well divided into upland and meadow. Long Hill, near the Ashland line, is, perhaps, the most commanding elevation. Mount Hollis and Powder-house Hill, near the centre, and Bald Hill, northwest of these, are all handsome elevations and afford extensive prospects. Winthrop Lake, one and a half miles long and three fourths wide, contributes much to the scenic beauty at the south of the central village. The streams, Beaver-dam, Chicken and Hopping brooks, flow southerly into Charles River, affording some motive power. Jar Brook, the outlet of Winthrop Lake, runs northerly through the central village, and then easterly into Dopping Brook, affording valuable mill privileges.

The principal rock is calcareous gneiss and sienite. The soil is a sandy loam, somewhat rocky, but strong and fertile. The town contains about 11,000 fruit trees, and many acres are covered with cranberry vines. The product of these in the last census year of 1885 was 604 barrels, selling for $2,043. The value of the aggregate product of the 117 farms was $112,319. The fencing is generally stone walls; and the general appearance of the farms indicates .industry, temperance and a fair degree of thrift.

The woollen mill here employs about 125 persons. The copper pump works, the tack factory, and the Mt. Hollis Manufacturing Company, making knit goods, are prominent establishments. There are also several boot factories, making goods in the last census year valued at $283,210; a straw goods factory, whose product brought $118,806; and the food preparations, wooden and stone goods, furniture, leather, carriages, -- each amounted to several thousands of dollars in value. The aggregate product of manufactures reached the sum of $829,583. The factories are generally of wood. The number of dwelling-houses was 632. The valuation in 1888 was 1,527,775, with a tax-rate of $17.50 on $1,000. The population is 926, including 803 legal voters. There is a national bank having capital of $150,000; and a savings bank whose deposits at the close of last year were $365,368.

The schools are graded, and occupy nine buildings. There is here a granite bridge 300 feet in length. Perhaps the finest structures in the town are the high school building, Forbes' business block, and the churches. The latter are Congregational, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic. There is a public library of nearly 4,000 volumes. The "Holliston Independent" and the "Transcript," weekly, add much to the literary entertainment of the inhabitants, as well as furnish them with the news.

This town, originally a part of Sherborn, was set off and incorporated December 3, 1724. it was named in honor of Thomas Hollis, a benefactor of Harvard College. The first church was formed November 20,1728, when the Rev. James Stone was ordained pastor.

During the winter of 1753-4 a great sickness prevailed here; when, out of a population of about four hundred, 53 deaths occurred in the space of six weeks. On the 4th of January ten persons lay unburied. The soldiers from this town who fell in the late war for the Union are honored by a monument to their memory.

pp. 379-380 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer