The area now known as Ashland was settled in the early 1700s and inhabited prior to that by the Megunko Indians, to which Megunko Hill owes it’s name. Previously known as "Unionville", Ashland was incorporated in 1846, bearing the name of statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate, and is considerably younger than many of the surrounding towns. The establishment of the Boston to Albany railroad in the mid-1800s was key in the early development of Ashland, although it remained a mainly centralized residential town with limited industry until the mid 20th century.
Two major routes, 135 and 126, pass through Ashland. Route 135 is dominated by older residential development of varying density and is also part of the route for the Boston Marathon, which began in Ashland on Pleasant Street until the start was moved to Hopkinton's Main Street in 1924. Route 126 has developed rapidly since the 1980s, as farms have given way to shopping centers and condominiums. Part of the draw of Ashland, and one that has been publicized in recent years, is its "ideal" location about halfway between the cities of Boston and Worcester. Ashland is considered part of MetroWest, which also consists of the towns of Framingham, Natick, Southborough, Holliston, and Hopkinton.
Even though the current Ashland has left it’s humble roots as a rural area, it still retains the look and feel of a true New England town. Traditions like Ashland Day, Farmer’s Market, Boston Marathon, and the Thanksgiving Day football game against Hopkinton help to maintain the feeling of a close-knit community. Small businesses in town are supported by the Ashland Business Association, and the townspeople have a great tradition of helping others through the Ashland Emergency Fund. Experience Ashland for yourself!
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