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Grafton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,765 at the 2010 census. Grafton is the home of a Nipmuc village known as Hassanamisco Reservation, the Willard House and Clock Museum, and the Tufts UniversityCummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Grafton consists of the North Grafton, Grafton, and South Grafton geographic areas, each with a separate zip code.
Bands of the Nipmuc tribe were the indigenous inhabitants, and maintain a state-recognized reservation known as Hassanamessit, or Hassanamisco, which was formerly a Praying Indian village. Grafton was first settled by Europeans in 1718 and was officially incorporated in 1735.
Grafton stands tall in the industrialization of the Blackstone Valley. Its Northeast Village was once known as “New England Village”. The following is an excerpt from the Blackstone Daily about the history of the town:
Grafton has been a significant contributor in the success and progress of the American Industrial Revolution that was started in 1793 by Samuel Slater with his cotton mill in Pawtucket. North Grafton’s Upper Mill, now known as the Washington Mills complex that still produces abrasives, was once known as the New England Manufacturing Company. This was part of the New England Village as North Grafton was known for generations. This part of the mill was built in 1826 and was part of a much larger complex, but most of that is now gone, mostly due to serious fires. Mill housing was built at 12, 14 and 16 Overlook Street. These central chimney style homes were boarding houses with ornate trim that has since been lost.
The town is named for Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, a title created for the illegitimate son of King Charles II of England. Ethan Allen ran a gun factory in Grafton in the early 19th century. In the 1930s, a movie, Ah, Wilderness!, was filmed in the town. The moviemakers built a bandstand on the town common which still stands there today. Grafton Common has many historic homes, churches and buildings and is considered the most quintessential common in the Blackstone Valley. The town is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the oldest industrialized region in the U.S.
North Grafton is the home of the Wyman Gordon Company. In 1955, the United States Air Force installed a 50,000 ton metal forge in North Grafton as part of its Heavy Press Program in a plant operated by Wyman Gordon. It was the largest metal forge, and indeed the largest machine, in the world at the time it was built. This forge is used to form strategic metals used in commercial and military aircraft for turbine disks, shafts, and blades, landing struts and other aircraft parts where light weight and extreme strength are needed. The entire undercarriage of the space shuttles were forged in Grafton of magnesium.
From 1901 to 1973, North Grafton was home to the Grafton State Hospital. Originally an offshoot of the Worcester State Hospital, Grafton State Hospital served as a “farm colony” where chronically insane patients could live and work in somewhat normal surroundings. The campus was made up of several clusters of buildings and eventually encompassed 1,200 acres (490 ha) in Grafton, Shrewsbury, andWestborough. The hospital was closed in 1973, and the campus, including many of the original buildings, was taken over by theCummings School of Veterinary Medicine (part of Tufts University) and the Grafton Job Corps center.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.3 square miles (60 km2), of which 22.7 square miles (59 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 2.28%, is water. Grafton is located 30 miles (48 km) west of Boston and 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Worcester.
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Censusrecords and Population Estimates Programdata.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,894 people, 5,694 households, and 3,951 families residing in the town. The population density was 655.0 inhabitants per square mile (252.9 /km2). There were 5,828 housing units at an average density of 256.3 per square mile (99.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.92% White, 1.25% African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.24% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race composed 1.91% of the population.
There were 5,694 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $56,020, and the median income for a family was $66,396. Males had a median income of $48,016 versus $32,347 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,952. About 2.3% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
|County government: Worcester County|
|Clerk of Courts:||Dennis P. McManus (D)|
|District Attorney:||Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)|
|Register of Deeds:||Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)|
|Register of Probate:||Stephen Abraham (D)|
|County Sheriff:||Lew Evangelidis (R)|
|State Representative(s):||George N. Peterson, Jr (R)|
|State Senator(s):||Michael O. Moore (D)|
|Governor’s Councilor(s):||Jen Caissie (R)|
|U.S. Representative(s):||Richard E. Neal (D-2nd District),|
|U.S. Senators:||John Kerry (D), Scott Brown (R)|
The Grafton Free Public Library opened in 1867. The current building was built in 1927 with money donated by Jerome Wheelock, a local inventor. In fiscal year 2008, the town of Grafton spent 1.33% ($482,226) of its budget on its public library—some $27 per person.