About Holden

Holden is located in the beautiful rolling hills of central Massachusetts, just north of Worcester, and about forty miles west of Boston. The town encompasses approximately thirty-six square miles, a good portion of which is protected open space, watershed and recreational areas.

The Town of Holden was incorporated on January 9, 1741 from what was then called the “North Half” of Worcester. Like all Massachusetts communities, Holden has changed over the years. Originally a rural farming area, the town began to take on a new look in the early 1800s. Villages began to develop throughout the town around textile mills that were taking advantage of the water power provided by the local streams and rivers. Between 1860 and 1900 villages such as Chaffin, Unionville, Lovellville, Quinapoxet, Dawsonville, North Woods, Bryantville, Springdale, Eagleville, and Jefferson were known to all residents. The areas around these villages were becoming home to increasing numbers of immigrant families who worked in the mills. At the same time the Jefferson section of Holden became a summer retreat for people from Boston and New York as they tried to escape the heat of the cities. Summer hotels like the Jefferson House, The Elmwood House, The Summit House, and the largest of them all – The Mt. Pleasant House dotted the hills of the northwest part of Holden. Numerous farms also became boarding houses to handle the overflow guests. By the early 1900s most of the mills became the victim of the development of the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs that would supply drinking water to the city of Boston. The summer hotels slowly became victim to the same development as well as fire. The current golf course at Holden Hills Country Club is the only surviving aspect of Holden’s hotel era. Following World War II, Holden began to transition into its current status as a “bedroom community” to the surrounding urban areas.

In June of 1951, Holden became one of the first communities in the state to adopt a Selectman – Town Manager form of government. In 1954, Holden became part of the first regional school district in Massachusetts. 

In addition to having an excellent school system and public library, the Town of Holden provides a full range of services including public water, sewer, and electric power. We also have a vibrant Recreation Department that offers a wide array of activities throughout the year. 

According to the American Community Survey, Holden’s estimated median household income is approximately $85,000/yr, while the estimated Massachusetts average is roughly $64,500.  The 2010 Federal Census noted that more than 50% of Holden residents are employed in a professional capacity, with another 24% working in sales and the remainder employed in either construction, service or manufacturing sectors.

Holden is one of the safest communities in Massachusetts.  According to the 2011 FBI statistics, there were 4.06 violent crimes committed per 1,000 residents on average in Massachusetts, but Holden residents only experienced .46 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.  Property crimes were 5.58 per 1,000 residents in Holden in 2011, as compared to a statewide average of 21.53.  Overall, Holden registered 3 crimes per square mile, as compared to a statewide average of 33 crimes per square mile and a nationwide average of 39.3 crimes per square mile.


For a detailed history of Holden, please visit the website of the Holden Historical Society

Town of Holden Business Hours:

  • Monday: 8-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8-7 p.m.
  • Wednesay: 8-4 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8-4 p.m.
  • Friday: 8-12 p.m.