Welcome to Petersham

Worcester County

The Massachusetts Local History Page is dedicated to sharing the history of how our New England Ancestors lived. Give them a visit!

The Town of Petersham, in its third century, having been incorporated in April of 1754, is located at the northeastern part of the Quabbin Reservoir. The town, which ranks third in the Commonwealth in size, is easily reached from both Route 2 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. The elegant town common is the centerpiece of the Petersham Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Some 45 buildings, mostly built in the early nineteenth century are included in the district. Many of Petersham's 1200 residents live near the village center, the remainder being scattered throughout the town in an assortment of country dwellings, new and old. Aside from its prettiness, Petersham is blessed with a vibrant and variegated population desiring both to preserve and enjoy the beauty around them.

An outstanding feature of Petersham is its wealth of conservation land, including not only the thousands of acres of the MDC's Quabbin Reservation, but also a number of large tracts maintained by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Harvard Forest, the Audubon Society and the Trustees of Reservations. As a result, the sighting of bald eagles, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, raccoons and many other forms of wildlife is common.

Cultural and recreational facilities in Petersham are many and varied, including the Petersham Craft Center, the Historical Society with its museum, the Memorial Library, Petersham Country Club, Curling Club, the Fisher Museum at Harvard Forest, summer band concerts staged at the renovated band stand, impressive Memorial Day ceremonies, numerous hiking and skiing trails, the Petersham Gun Club, Elizabeth Carpenter Concerts, antique show and other events sponsored by the American Legion, Grange, Lions Club and the three churches.


West central Massachusetts, bordered by Phillipston on the northeast; Barre on the southeast; Harwick, Ware, and Quabbin Reservoir on the south; New Salem and Quabbin Reservoir on the west; and Athol on the northwest. Petersham is 24 miles southwest of Fitchburg, 69 miles west of Boston, and 178 miles from New York City.

Total Area: 68.31 sq. miles (3rd largest community in square miles in Massachusetts)
Land Area: 54.24 sq. miles
Population: 1,131


The principal highway of northern Worcester county is State Route 2, the old Mohawk Trail, which runs across northern Massachusetts. State Route 140 and Interstate 190 connect the region to Worcester. The Springfield Terminal Railway Line (the former Boston and Maine Railroad) parallels Route 2 and provides access to the network of intermodal facilities serving central and eastern Massachusetts.

Major Highways

Principal highways are State Route 32, which runs N-S across central Massachusetts, State Route 101 providing a link in Templeton to Route 2, and State Route 122.

Community information provided by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Community and Development's Community Profiles

New England History

New England is full of history and Petersham is no different. Even the little towns that grace the rolling hills of the North-east have their time and place in history.

Rural New England offers many "perks" even though the intensity of hte city is not here. Good schools, clean air, and knowing your neighbors by their first name. Sounds kind of like Norman Rockwell or Robert Frost, I know, but it's true..there are still places in our world that feel safe and secure.
Petersham offers many Small Town America opportunities that just aren't availble in our urban areas. Community pick up games of Volleyball and Baseball on the Common; Old Home Days sponsored by the Lion's Club; A yearly scavanger hunt with clues based on the towns history; and an open town meeting where every citizen is still allowed to voice their opinion and cast their vote.
One of the true traditions in Petersham are the summer concerts on the bandstand each and every summer.

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This page maintained by Bob Laford

Petersham, MA