Living in Westford
About 22,000 people are at home in Westford. Westford is an industrious community that enjoys skiing, festivals almost monthly and family activities in an atmosphere of high technology industries, suburban retail and residential areas. However, Westford history and those who made it, are not forgotten. Paul Revere's son attended Westford Academy. The bell in the school lobby was cast by Revere, as was the weather vane on top of Abbot Elementary School.
Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards, born in 1842 was an industrial and environmental chemist who pioneered research in domestic science. She began the new science of home economics by applying science to the home and chemistry to nutritional studies. In 1862, Richards graduated from Westford Academy and in 1870, she earned a degree in chemistry from Vassar College. She was the first woman in America ever accepted to any school of science and technology when she was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She graduated in 1873 and later became its first female instructor. Richards proved that work within the home was vital to the economy.
Westford men served in all wars beginning with the Colonial wars and the Revolutionary War. They fought the battle of Lexington and Concord to defeat Cornwallis at Yorktown. Two-hundred men from Westford served in the Civil War, with a loss of 36. The Civil War affected Westford economically as the demand for cloth to make uniforms meant the mills had to increase production, bringing prosperity to the community.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, apples, granite, and worsted yarn were the main products coming from Westford. The population increased dramatically from 1870 through the 1920s as immigrants came for jobs in the mills and quarries. Forty percent of the population was foreign born by 1915, with French Canadians forming the largest group followed by Northern Europeans. Abbot Worsted recruited workers from Russia. The railroads provided a convenient means for the transport of goods and people throughout the country.
Did you know that Westford Academy has the honor of holding two great distinctions in the country? The first is that it houses an original bell cast by Paul Revere. The bell has been part of Westford Academy since it was given to the school in 1792. Today, the bell is displayed in the Bell Lobby of the present high school. Additional, it is one of the oldest public High Schools in the United States where it ranks 7th out of 74 schools in the same classification.
Westford Academy (9-12)
Norman E. Day School (3-5)
Abbot Elementary School (3-5)