A Timeline of Framingham History

- 1600's -

1630 Connecticut Indians bring grain to the starving Massachusetts Bay Colony along a trail now known as the Old Connecticut Path, Framingham's oldest road.
1633 John Oldham leads a group of explorers along the Connecticut Path, becoming the first Englishmen to set foot on the land that would become Framingham.
1640 The first land grant, 600 acres on the east side of Lake Cochituate, is awarded to the widow of Rev. Josse Glover. The land is not immediately occupied for settlement or farming.
1647 John Stone sells his Sudbury property and moves his family to the west side of the Sudbury River, at what is now Saxonville. He becomes Framingham's first settler.
1660, Oct. 10 Thomas Danforth, an official of the Bay Colony and Harvard College, receives 250 acres of land in payment for his services. Danforth will accumulate over 15,000 acres and name the land Framingham after the town of his birth in England where it is spelled Framlingham.
1676, Feb. 1 During the Indian uprising known as King Philip's War the remote farm of the Eames family on Mount Wayte is attacked. Mary Eames and several children are slain in the Eames Massacre.
1693, Mar. 2 The first petition to incorporate Framingham as a town is submitted to the General Court and denied. Thomas Danforth was opposed.
1693, spring The first of several families persecuted by the Salem witch hunt of 1692 arrive at Framingham Plantation and settle in an area to become known as Salem End.
1699, Nov. 5 Thomas Danforth dies, opening the way for those residents who want to organize a town government.

- 1700's -

1700, June 5 Danforth's Farms are incorporated as the Town of Framingham. The first Town Meeting is held on August 5. The meetinghouse was located in the Old Burying Ground on Main Street.
1701, Oct.8 The Framingham Church is organized with the Rev. John Swift as the town's first minister.
1706 The Town hires its first schoolmaster, Deacon Joshua Hemenway.
1716 The first schoolhouse is built, west of the meetinghouse.
1735 After a long dispute over the location of a new meetinghouse, the Town purchases four acres from William Pike, which will become the Framingham Centre Common.
1775, Feb. 22 British General Gage sends out spies to chart the way to Worcester for his invasion. They stay at Buckminster's tavern and observe the Framingham minutemen drilling.
1775, Apr. 19 General Gage sends his Redcoats against Lexington and Concord instead of Framingham and Worcester. Framingham sends it's minutemen, and one man is wounded.
1775, June 17 Framingham companies serve well at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Peter Salem, a slave freed by Lawson Buckminster, supposedly shoots British Major Pitcairn.
1776, Jan. Henry Knox drags his "cannon train" from Ft. Ticonderoga to Framingham to await orders to bring the artillery to sites around Boston where they would force out the occupying British forces (Evacuation Day, March 17).
1792 Several prominent citizens form the Framingham Academy to prepare students for college, becoming Framingham's first high school.
1795 Paul Revere comes to Framingham to preside over the creation of the Middlesex Masonic Lodge at the home of Esq. Jonathan Maynard.

- 1800's -

1800, Oct. 2 At the home of Mary Rice, Framingham's first manufacturing industry is born: making straw braid and bonnets.
1812 Former minuteman John Fiske builds a stylish new house on the Worcester Turnpike (The 1812 House).
1810 The Worcester Turnpike, a commercial highway connecting Boston and Worcester, is opened with Framingham at the mid-point. The turnpike later became Route 9.
1824, Feb.4 1824, Feb.4, The Saxon Factory company was not the first textile mill at Saxonville, but did give its name to that part of town. There was a cotton mill on Cochituate Brook as early as 1810.
1824 Another commercial turnpike is built through the southern part of town. It is called the Central Turnpike, and later becomes Waverley Street (Rt. 135).
1826 Famous Boston architect Solomon Willard designs the First Baptist Church, now Framingham's oldest public building.
1830 After a bitter dispute, the Town divests its church property to the Unitarians. The Congregationalists build a new church across the street, now Plymouth Church.
1833 The Framingham Bank opens following President Andrew Jackson's veto of the Bank of the United States.
1834 A new town hall is built on the centre common, now known as the Village Hall.
1834 The Boston and Worcester Railroad begins service through South Framingham with a train consisting of a six-ton engine called "Yankee" and seven stage-coach cars.
1845 St. George's, Framingham's first catholic parish, is established in Saxonville where the Irish population has been growing as a result of the Great Famine in Ireland.
1846, Mar.16 A large section of the south side of town is set off along with pieces of Hopkinton and Holliston to form the Town of Ashland.
1849 Edgell Grove Cemetery, an outgrowth of the romantic rural cemetery trend in America, is opened near Framingham Centre.
1853 America's first public teachers' college, the State Normal School, relocates to Bare Hill at Framingham Centre. It is now Framingham State College.
1853 Framingham organizes an official fire department.
1854, Mar. 18 Lovell Eames gives the town a piece of land in South Framingham that becomes the South Common.
1854, July 4 At Harmony Grove on the east bank of Farm Pond, William Lloyd Garrison and Henry David Thoreau give famous speeches in denunciation of slavery.
1855, Apr.9 The Framingham Public Library is born.
1862, Feb.22 At a Washington's Birthday service at Plymouth Church, Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic is sung in public for the first time.
1871 The opening of the Framingham and Lowell Railroad completes a period of railroad construction that makes Framingham a rail hub for eastern Massachusetts.
1871 The first successful local newspaper, The Framingham Gazette, begins weekly publication.
1872 The Camp Meeting Association begins summer sessions at Mt. Wayte where it will become the New England headquarters of the national Chautauqua movement.
1874 Framingham becomes the home of the Middlesex South District Court.
1875-1879 In 1875 the Commonwealth purchases 115 acres of the former Pratt's Plain for annual encampments of the State's militia brigades. This area has since been know as the Musterfield. A reservoir project to construct dams and reservoirs along the Sudbury River in Framingham and Ashland swallows up thousands of acres of farm land, and brings Irish Immigrants to Framingham Centre.
1883 The sprawling wooden Saxonville Mills complex burns down and is rebuilt in brick within two years.
1889 The original Framingham Normal School building is replaced by a brick structure, May Hall, which is later used as part of the design of the Town seal.
1890 Horse-drawn trolleys start appearing on the main roads connecting the villages of Framingham. They are electrified by the end of the century.
1893 The Framingham Hospital is established in a house on Winthrop Street.
1895, July 9 The Framingham Board of Trade is formed to encourage new business to come to South Framingham. It exists today as the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce.
1897 Efforts of the Board of Trade result in bringing Dennison Manufacturing to Framingham, the town's major employer for half a century.
1897 Charles MacPherson starts up The Framingham Evening News, the town's first successful daily newspaper, later The Middlesex News and now The MetroWest Daily News.

- 1900's -

1900 The Board of Trade is a major force behind the Framingham Bicentennial, a gala celebration of the town's 200th anniversary, with emphasis on South Framingham. The current town seal is introduced at the bicentennial.
1902 Richard H. Long comes to town and sets up a shoe factory which later becomes an automobile factory, and finally an automobile dealership.
1903 The B&W trolley connects Boston and Worcester with Framingham at the mid-point; headquarters at Framingham Junction (Rt. 9 and Rt. 126).
1906, July 13 The Amsden Building collapses while under construction in South Framingham, killing thirteen workmen; one of Framingham's worst disasters.
1912 Wallace Nutting, a leader of the colonial-revival movement, brings his photo coloring and furniture making operations to Framingham and moves to Framingham Centre.
1913 The U.S. Post Office officially recognizes South Framingham as Framingham and demotes the previous Framingham to Framingham Centre.
1917 Framingham is chosen as the site of an important national health study known as "The Tuberculosis Demonstration."
1918 The Musterfield becomes the staging area for Massachusetts troops preparing to fight in World War I.
1923 New England's first airmail flight lands at the Musterfield military airport.
1924 575 acres of northwest Sherborn are annexed to Framingham. The land includes the old Reformatory Prison for Woman, now known as MCI-Framingham.
1928 A new town hall, the Memorial Building, named in honor of Framingham's citizen soldiers, is completed.
1931 The B&W Trolley is replaced by a new state "super highway" called Route 9.
1931 Will Curtis purchases 30 acres in north Framingham and starts creating a botanical garden called Garden in the Woods.
1944 The U.S. Army opens Cushing Hospital on the west side of Farm Pond as a centralized facility for treating New England soldiers wounded during World War II.
1948 Framingham is once again selected as the site of another important health survey, the Framingham Heart Study.
1948 The General Motors Corporation establishes a major automobile assembly plant on the south side of Framingham, at the Sherborn border.
1951 With a population of 28,000, Framingham modifies its government from an open Town Meeting to a representative Town Meeting.
1951, Oct. 4 Shoppers World, one of the nation's first regional shopping malls, is opened.
1957 As part of the new interstate highway system, I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike is opened with two exits in Framingham.
1958 A summer tent theater, the Carousel, opens near Mass. Turnpike Exit 13.
1962 The Massachusetts Civil Defense Headquarters, an underground bunker on Route 9, is built on the old Musterfield land.
1967 Framingham's post-war population boom makes it the largest town in Massachusetts.
1970 A new state park consisting of 425 acres of northwest Framingham is opened as Callahan State Park.
1975 The town celebrates its 275th anniversary and a regional fine arts museum, the Danforth Museum, is opened in the old high school on Union Avenue.
1978 Framingham is wired for cable TV.
1986, Jan. 28 Christa McAulliffe, who grew up in Framingham, graduated from Framingham State College, and was selected as the "first teacher in space," perishes in the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
1992, July Selectmen name the city of Lomonosov in Russia as Framingham's sister city, at the request of FLAME, (Framingham-Lomonosov Association for Mutual Exchange).
1994, Oct. 16 President Bill Clinton visits Framingham to sign an historic education bill, and address a political rally at the Memorial Building.
1996, April Town government is reorganized with a Town Manager and a five-person Board of Selectmen to make it more responsive to the needs of a large municipality.

- 2000's -

2000 Framingham celebrates 300 years as a town. Tercentennial events are held throughout the year. The Civil War Encampment attracts over 10,000.
2010 Grand Re-Opening of Bowditch Field after major renovations. Columbus day weekend celebration includes all day music and crafts fair featuring Arlo Guthrie in concert October 10, 2010, ("10-10-10").
2011 Framingham September 11th Tenth Anniversary - Vigil & Remembrance Ceremony held at Cushing Memorial Park, 9/11/2011. Honoring the memory of the; 17 people who had ties to Framingham, the 343 Fire Fighters, 72 Police and the thousands of other lives which were lost ten years earlier on "9/11" in the year 2001.
2018 Framingham Becomes a City - in 2017 Framingham voters approved Town Charter changes, (by a slim margin of only 182 votes; 5,690 for an 5,582 against), that ended over 300 years of Town Meeting style government to adopt a city style of government. The changes eliminated the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen and replaced them with an elected Mayor and eleven elected City Councilors. Elections in November of 2017 were held, and on January 1st, 2018, Yvonne M. Spicer was inaugurated as the first Mayor of The City of Framingham.

Timeline of Framingham History prepared by Randy Harris with early help from former Framingham Town Historian Steve Herring. If you know of other significant dates and events you'd like to see added, please contact us.