The Town of Southbridge is located in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,740 at the 2020 census. Southbridge was incorporated on February 15, 1816. Southbridge is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of" in their official names.
The Town of Southbridge is located just north of the Connecticut border in the Quinebaug River Valley of south-central Massachusetts. The Town is in close proximity to Routes 90, 20, 84 and 395 with convenient access to Hartford, Springfield, Providence, Boston, and Worcester. Comprised of approximately 21 square miles, Southbridge is an eclectic blend of hilly and flat, farmland and developed land, industry and downtown, and suburban, urban, and rural neighborhoods.
Eye of the Commonwealth
Southbridge has a long history of manufacturing optical products, earning it the unofficial title "Eye of the Commonwealth", in reference to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Under the Wells family, the American Optical Company ("AO") became the world's largest manufacturer of ophthalmic products, and at its height employed more than 6,000 people around the world.
The industrial revolution brought rapid growth to Southbridge, and with growth came varied neighborhoods and a historical downtown with Victorian architecture and large, shady streets. Industry also brought successive waves of immigration as people from many nationalities moved here to work in the mills. Neighborhoods developed near industry, while outlying areas remained largely agricultural.
By the 1950s infrastructure had caught up to the needs of a busy populace, and today, our population of 17,400 reflects the history of our development and its cultural diversity.
We are fortunate to have so many amenities:
- A new state of the art middle/high school
- 3 elementary schools
- A private catholic school
- A beautifully proportioned downtown
- Full service fire and police
- 3,000 acre watershed with a technologically advanced filtration plant
- An expanded public library
- Well maintained wastewater treatment plant
- A municipal airport
- Attractive Town Common
- Full service hospital
- 4 large parks
- Trails linking to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam and recreation area
- State conservation area with developed hiking trails
- An arts center with galleries and amateur theater
- WRTA bus service
- A welcoming Community Center and more