Monday, June 25, 2012

Go Local Worcester - Southbridge #69: Central MA’s Best Communities

Monday, June 25, 2012
GoLocalWorcester Best Communities Team


A culturally diverse town, Southbridge has seen a variety of different ethnic groups move to town, including Laos, Vietnam and Puerto Rico.  The town has newly renovated schools, including a brand new high school that will open in the fall. It is also home to hiking trails, an art center and four parks.  The town also has its own airport, which is privately managed.

Southbridge’s rankings were split, placing in the top 20 in three categories (affordability, arts and culture, and restaurants), but near the bottom in three others (economic condition, safety and education). In education, Southbridge scored lowest of all Central Mass.

Southbridge by the numbers
Established: 1816
Population: 16,719
Median household income: $47,234
Median housing price: $96,750
2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 69
Affordability ranking: 13
Education ranking: 72
Economic condition ranking: 63
Safety ranking: 64
Arts & Culture ranking: 16
History in a nutshell:
Southbridge developed as an industrial city, often called the "Eye of the Commonwealth," for its manufacturing of optical products. The town's industry developed first with saw and gristmills in the 18th century and then with textiles in the 19th century. In 1869, the American Optical Company was incorporated in Southbridge, employing more than 6,000 at its peak.

Famous residents: 
Jeff Belander, Author and speaker
William Tremblay, Poet, novelist, professor
Kenny Dykstra, Professional wrester
William Joel Gregorio, Member of the Charlie Daniels Band
Famous residents source: Wikipedia
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


  1. How did they come up with these numbers?

    1. Go Local Worcester's methodology is explained at:

  2. You're Fired!June 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Where is Southbridge on the most likely to fire it's town Management list?

    Tonights School Committee meeting could push us higher up that list and for all the wrong reasons!

  3. Compare Southbridge's "Median Housing Price" of: $96,750 & Webster's "Median Housing Price" of: $180,900.

    One Housing Price appears Artifically "LOW" while the other Artifically "HIGH" considering both towns share so much in common.

    Webster's reported stats are as follows:

    Established: 1832
    Population: 16,767
    Median household income: $48,640
    Median housing price: $180,900

    2012 Best Communities rankings

    Overall ranking: 70
    Affordability ranking: 65
    Education ranking: 65
    Economic condition ranking: 64
    Safety ranking: 67
    Arts & Culture ranking: 71

    History in a nutshell:

    Webster was founded in 1812 by Samuel Slater, the "Father of the American Factory System," when he secretly brought British textile technology to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Slater named the town after his friend, Daniel Webster. The textile and shoe factories developed rapidly in the area because of the plentiful water supply.


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