Natick is a historical Massachusetts’ town that was incorporated in 1781. It is 17 miles west of Boston. Throughout it’s rich history and into present day, Natick has been a vibrant and thriving community.
Natick, MA History
“Natick” is an Indian name meaning ‘Place of Hills.” John Eliot, a Puritan missionary, first settled in Natick in 1651. Eliot represented England’s Long Parliament. His charge was to convert the Massachusetts Indians (Praying Indians) to Christianity.
Though Natick, MA was initially a farming community, by 1880, Natick had 23 shoes factories, which provided the country with a third of the shoes produced (including the boots worn by soldiers during the American Civil War).
- The Boston Marathon runs through Natick on Patriots’ Day (it is miles 8 through 12 of the 26 mile race).
- Henry Wilson, Vice President to Ulysses S. Grant (1873–1875), lived in Natick and worked as a shoe maker (he was known as the “Natick Cobbler.”) His shop is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), author and abolitionist, lived in Natick. Her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) about the cruelty of slavery, is still acknowledged today.
- Once the home of the Hostess Baking Company, Natick was featured in an episode of The Family Guy when the family sets out to visit the “Twinkie” factory.
- The Natick Mall is the largest shopping center in New England and the fourth largest in the US. It opened in 1966, was expanded in 1994 and again in 2007. There are 214 stores.
Natick Culture and Destinations
In 2012 the Massachusetts Cultural Council designated Natick Center as a cultural districts attracting artists and cultural enterprises, encouraging business and job growth, expanding tourism, and preserving and fostering local cultural development.
The Center for Arts in Natick (TCAN), located in Natick’s historic Central Fire Station, is a performance venue for musicians in jazz, folk, classical, and rock genres.
Natick is known state wide for it’s outstanding July 4th parade, which has been presented every year since 1955.
Downtown Natick Town Common is the locale of many town events and community activities, including summer Concerts on the Common.
Natick is home to large corporations including Mathworks and Cognex as well as Natick Labs (U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Center).
Natick noteworthy residents (past and present):
- Horatio Alger, Jr., minister and children’s books author settled in Natick in 1860.
- Thomas S. Allen, American composer
- James Bamford, author, journalist who writes about the world of US intelligence agencies
- Doug Flutie, NFL and CFL veteran. He retired from the New England Patriots after the 2005–06 seasons and was the 50th Heisman Trophy winner.
- John O’Hurley, actor best known for role on as J. Peterman on television’s Seinfeld.
- Alison Fraser, Broadway performer and two-time Tony Award nominee.
- Harold Kushner, rabbi and author of many books, including When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
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