Southbridge Massachusetts, 1890

Southbridge is a prosperous and important manufacturing town lying in the southwesterly part of Worcester County, 27 miles from the city of Worcester, and 70 miles. from Boston; being connected directly with the latter by a branch of the New York and New England Railroad. Charlton lies on the northeast, Dudley on the east, Sturbridge on the west and north west, and Woodstock, in Connecticut, on the south.

The assessed area is 12,029 acres. There are nearly 4,000 acres of forest, consisting mostly of oak, chestnut, ash, pine and hemlock. The public ways, also, are bordered by many elm and maple trees, of which some are very large and old. The principal rock is ferruginous gneiss and dolerite. The soil, in parts, is loamy and sandy. The land is broken, and rises into several beautiful eminences, the most commanding of which is Hatchet Hill, whose summit is 1,016 feet above the level of the sea. The Quinebaug River, a steady and generous stream, flows southeasterly through the centre of the town, affording power for several factories. The affluents of this stream are Cady and McKinstry brooks on the north, and Lebanon, Cohasse and Hatchet brooks on the south.

The 77 farms in 1885 yielded products to the value of $102,206. The chief factories are those of the Hamilton Woollen, the Central Mills, the American Optical, the Hyde and the Harrington companies, and of the Southbridge Print Works. These employ about 2,000 persons. The manufactures are woollen goods, cotton goods, prints, spectacles, cutlery, shuttles, bricks, stone, leather, boots and shoes, house-lumber and boxes, carriages, clothing, soap, and food preparations. The value of goods made in 1885, as appears by the census, was $1,968,107. The Southbridge National Bank has a capital stock of $150,000; and the savings bank at the close of last year held deposits to the amount of $1,349,590. The population was 6,500, of whom 1,050 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $3,178,050, with a tax-rate of $21.50 on $1,000. There were 899 taxed dwelling-houses.

There is a new and excellent town-hall, also a new high-school building. The other 12 school-houses, with their appurtenances, were valued at $19,900. The public library contains about 12,000 volumes.

There are two weekly papers published here the "Herald" and the "Journal," each having a good circulation. The churches are one each of the Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists Free Evangelicals, Universalists, and Roman Catholics. In addition to those already mentioned, the Public Library, the Soldiers' Memorial Hall, Ammidown Block, the bank building and several private residences are noticeable for their quality. The villages are Southbridge (centre), Globe Village and Sandersvale, the first two being post-offices.

This town was formed from parts of Charlton, Dudley and Sturbridge, and incorporated on February 15, 1816. Hon. William Learned Marcy (1786-1857), an able editor and statesman, a governor of New York, and U. S. secretary of state under President Pierce, was a native of this town.

pp. 606-607 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890