Local city information for Westford, MA
is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 20,754 at the 2000 census.
Westford was first settled in 1635. Originally a part of neighboring Chelmsford, West Chelmsford soon grew large enough to sustain its own governance, and was officially incorporated as Westford in 1729.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Westford primarily produced granite, apples, and worsted yarn. The Abbot Worsted Company was the first company in the nation to use camel hair for worsted yarns. Citizens from Westford also had some notable involvement in the Revolutionary War. It has been alleged that the town was along the path of Paul Revere's Ride on the eve of April 19, 1775, but Revere's path is well-documented, and he never even made it as far as Lincoln. Westford Minutemen were alerted by efforts of Samuel Prescott who alerted Acton, to the southeast towards Stow. A subsequent alert rider, lost to time, reached Westford. Westford's minutemen marched to Concord where particpated in the "Shot Heard Round the World". Westford Academy , the local public high school, was once attended by Paul Revere's son and a bell cast by Revere graces its lobby today, and a weather vane made by Paul Revere sits atop the Abbot Elementary School.
By the end of the American Civil War, as roads and transportation improved, Westford began to serve as a residential suburb for the factories of Lowell, becoming one of the earliest notable examples of suburban sprawl. Throughout the 20th century (and with the invention of the automobile, Westford progressively grew, continuing to serve as residential housing for the industries of Lowell, and later, Boston.
In the 1960s, the town was home to one of the research sites supporting Project West Ford.
By the 1970s, with the advent of the 128 Technology Belt, Westford began to act as a suburb for high-tech firms in Burlington, Woburn, and other areas, and later became a center of technology itself.
By the 1990s, Westford was home to offices for Red Hat, Samsung, Seagate, Iris Associates, and many other technology firms. It is also the North American headquarters for Puma. The leading manufacturer of EEG electrodes, HydroDot Inc., located here in 2007.
Today, Westford's agricultural past has given way to a thriving, densely populated center of commerce and development, with continually rising growth rates.
Although discredited by many historians and archaeologists, some townspeople continue to claim that Westford was once a stopping point for Scottish Prince Henry Sinclair's surverying expedition to Greenland, Iceland, Nova Scotia, and Massachusetts which is said to have occurred in 1398, nearly 90 full years before Columbus made his discovery of The Americas. The primary evidence for this tale is a burial marker in the form of a sword chiseled into a granite slab near the center of town, (known by residents and historians as the Westford Knight), which some claim is the gravestone of Sir James Gunn of Scotland, who traveled with Sinclair. The marker is generally accepted to be the result of 19th Century residents, but continues to be an integral part of Westford folklore.
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