Sudbury, Massachusetts is located 20 miles west of Boston in Middlesex County. It covers 24.6 square miles, and has over 17,000 residents. This rural town is largely residential, though there is a bustling business district located along Route 20. There is a large area of open space and wetlands in the norther part of the town and 1-acre zoning bylaws keep the rural feel of this historic town.
Sudbury was incorporated in 1639, and at the time encompassed all of its present land area as well as the town of Wayland, and parts of Maynard, Stow, Framingham, and Marlborough. Today it is bordered by these towns as well as Hudson, Acton, and Concord. It shares a regional school district with its diagonally-adjacent neighbor, Lincoln. Tippling Rock, the highest point in town, gives views of all the towns west of Boston, as well as the highest skyscrapers in the city.
The town has great historic significance for Massachusetts, contributing soldiers and resources to the Revolutionary War. Interestingly, its zip code is 01776, which local legend says is to honor this history. The historical society, however, denies these rumors.
First incorporated in 1639, Sudbury is one of the most historic towns in Massachusetts. Primarily a farming community, several businesses sprang up to support the local settlers including a ferry across the Sudbury River, a blacksmith, and Howe’s Tavern (which was to become the Wayside Inn).
Sudbury played a major role in King Philip’s War in the 1670s. This skirmish between the British crown and local Native Americans was fought in large part by Sudbury residents, which was the site of a raid.
Howe’s Tavern was a site of local gathering where many of the first rumblings of the American Revolution were heard. Sudbury residents voted unanimously to boycott imported goods in 1768, focusing on locally produced items instead. As the most populated town in Massachusetts at the time, it also sent the largest contingent of soldiers to the battles in Concord and Lexington.
Today, Sudbury is one of the most affluent towns in the state, with a rural residential feel and a thriving business sector. Historically, the American Powder Mills, Sperry Rand, and Raytheon have been the town’s biggest employers. The town boasts many famous residents including:
The Wayside Inn, located in Sudbury, is the nation’s oldest operating inn. First opened in 1716 under the name “Howe’s Tavern” it grew out of the Howe family home. It was operated by the Howe family until 1861, undergoing many improvements over the years. It was visited by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and became the setting of his book “Tales of a Wayside Inn”. This placing it on the map, soon tourists, artists, and others would flock here.
It was purchased in 1923 by Henry Ford, with the intention of preserving history and making it into a museum. He also purchased much of the surrounding land, building a gristmill and school on the property. The Martha-Mary Chapel was also built at this time. While transformed into a living museum, it was kept open as an operating inn. Today it continues this grand tradition welcoming overnight guests, functions, tourists, and locals.
Sudbury is a historic community with much to be proud of. From the earliest days of Massachusetts the residents of this town have contributed knowledge, man-power, and loyalty to the burgeoning nation.