As far back as there are records, until the 1600s, what is now known as Shrewsbury was inhabited by Native Americans of the Nipmuc tribe. The establishment of the town of Shrewsbury began in 1664 with a 3,200-acre land grant. The first townspeople came primarily from Sudbury and Marlborough to craft an agricultural economy with apple orchards.A man named Gersham Wheelock became the first settler in 1720. Soon merchants and businessmen were coming to set up shop in the new New England community. One hundred years later, sizeable cattle herds were providing for a growing leather trade, which supplied footwear and other leather goods. Soon after, a gunsmithing industry was developed and weapons such as rifles and pistols were being manufactured in the area as well as other metal merchandise. Sawmills popped up around this time and lumber lent to the growing economy. By the 1900s, streetcar routes had integrated the rise of single-family housing and people from afar were coming to spend their summers at Lake Quinsigamond. Produce from area farms was at this time just beginning to be the thriving Shrewsbury industry it is today, as local farmers reaped the benefits of the growing population. During the colonial days of Shrewsbury, inns and taverns prospered, with travelers coming by the town via Routes 9 and 20. The foundations laid by these initial pioneers are still in tact in the economy and spirit of today’s inhabitants of this lakeside town. While business continues to prosper, residents live happily in the harmony of native landscape and community values mixed with modern convenience.
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