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Littleton MA

Littleton History

In 1890, Herbert Joseph Harwood, Author of An Historical Sketch Town of Littleton tells the story of Littleton, named to honor George Lyttleton, M.P., a commissioner of the treasury and one time Chancellor of the Exchequer. As a "thank you", Lyttleton sent a church bell from England to the town. The individual charged with delivery of the bell noticed it was sent to Littleton, not Lyttleton. He then refused to deliver it because no town of Lyttleton existed and instead he sold the bell.

Puritan leader John Elliot located the sixth Praying Indian Village in Littleton. These were self-governing villages of Indians converted to Christianity by John Elliot and Jesuit Missionaries. The placement of the villages, usually along outlying edges of towns, served as the first line of defense for the community. Littleton Minutemen fought the Revolutionary battle at Concord but the town still had some residents loyal to the crown. For that reason, you might still hear Littleton referred to as "Tory Town" by some.

During Prohibition Littleton was a dry town, although people in the State of Massachusetts were strongly anti-prohibition. At the time, the Rowse family owned New England Apple Products, later known as Veryfine. The family made a name for themselves because they refused to do business with bootleggers. In fact, Littleton stayed dry until 1960 when two package stores gained permission to sell liquor. The first bar was not opened until December 2008. Until that time, liquor sales flourished just over town lines.

Postwar housing growth in Littleton began with summer cottages turned into year round homes and then farms and several large horse properties were sold to developers who built new housing developments. Littleton became part of the Boston-area high-tech corridor in the 1970s when Digital Equipment Corporation, later part of Hewlett-Packard moved to town. IBM occupies the facility now, having bought it in 2007.

Interesting Fact

A promise is a promise. Did you know the town of Littleton was originally spelled Lyttleton, after Lord Lyttleton? Going back on his word to purchase a bell for the town, the spelling was changed to what is now Littleton as a result of a misprint made by the town newspaper.

Littleton Schools

Littleton High School (9-12)

Littleton Middle School (6-8)

Russell Street School (3-5)

Shaker Lane School (PK-2)

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