Billerica, Massachusetts

Billerica /bɪlˈrɪkə/ (About this soundlisten) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,243 according to the 2010 census.[2] It takes its name from the town of Billericay in Essex, England.

Billerica, Massachusetts
Billerica Public Library
Official seal of Billerica, Massachusetts
America's Yankee Doodle Town[1]
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Billerica, Massachusetts is located in the United States
Billerica, Massachusetts
Billerica, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°33′30″N 71°16′10″W / 42.55833°N 71.26944°W / 42.55833; -71.26944Coordinates: 42°33′30″N 71°16′10″W / 42.55833°N 71.26944°W / 42.55833; -71.26944
Country United States
State Massachusetts
RegionNew England
IncorporatedMay 29, 1655
Named forBillericay
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town ManagerJohn C. Curran
 • Total68.3 km2 (26.4 sq mi)
 • Land67.1 km2 (25.9 sq mi)
 • Water1.3 km2 (0.5 sq mi)
76 m (250 ft)
 • Total40,243
 • Density590/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
01821 (Billerica), 01862 (North Billerica)
Area code(s)351 / 978
FIPS code25-05805
GNIS feature ID0618217


In the early 1630s, a Praying Indian village named Shawshin was at the current site of Billerica,[3] commonly spelled Shawsheen today, as in the Shawsheen River. In 1638, Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop and Lt. Governor Thomas Dudley were granted land along the Concord River in the area, and roughly a dozen families from Cambridge and Charlestown Village had begun to occupy Shawshin by 1652.[4] The settlers chose the name Billerica because some of the families originally came from the town of Billericay in Essex, England. The town was incorporated as Billerica in 1655, on the same day as neighboring Chelmsford and nearby Groton. The original plantation of Billerica was divided during the colonial period into the towns of Billerica, Bedford, Wilmington, and Tewksbury.

The oldest remaining homestead in the town is the Manning Manse built in 1696, which was also the residence of William Manning (1747–1814), the author of The Key of Liberty, a critique of Federalist policies.[5] Other notable Revolutionary War era residents included Asa Pollard (1735–75), the first soldier killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Thomas Ditson (born 1741), who was tarred and feathered by the British in 1775 while on a visit to Boston. The song "Yankee Doodle" supposedly became a term of national pride instead of an insult because of this event.[6] The town now celebrates "Yankee Doodle Weekend" every September.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 26.4 square miles (68 km2), of which 25.9 square miles (67 km2) are land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (1.90%) is water.

Billerica is located 20 miles (32 km) north-northwest of Boston along the Northwest Expressway (Massachusetts) portion of U.S. Route 3, positioning it as the border between Boston’s inner suburbs to the south and the Merrimack Valley region to the north. The town is also situated less than 3 miles (5 km) from the Massachusetts Route 128/Interstate 95 High-Technology belt to the south and less than 2 miles (3 km) from the Interstate 495 (Massachusetts) outer belt highway to the north.

Billerica has several small neighborhoods that form villages (or sections) of town. Those villages are Billerica Center, East Billerica, North Billerica, Nutting Lake, Pinehurst, West Billerica, River Pines, Riverdale, and South Billerica.[7]

Billerica borders the following towns: Chelmsford, Lowell, Tewksbury, Wilmington, Burlington, Bedford, and Carlisle. The border with Lowell is at a point in the middle[citation needed] of the Concord River where Billerica, Chelmsford, Lowell and Tewksbury all meet.


The Shawsheen River and Concord River are the two major waterways within the town. Nuttings Lake offers a public beach and other recreational water activities including canoeing and sailing.


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]
Billerica Center

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 38,981 people, 12,919 households, and 10,244 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,505.9 people per square mile (581.3/km2). There were 13,071 housing units at an average density of 504.9 per square mile (194.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.68% White, 1.11% African American, 0.10% Native American, 2.76% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

There were 12,919 households, out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.7% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 34.6% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.2 males.

As of the 2010 census, the median income for a household in the town was $87,073, and the median income for a family was $95,128. The per capita income for the town was $32,517. About 2.8% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.

Billerica was a contender for CNN Money's "Best Places to Live" in 2009 but did not make the top 100 list for the nation.[19]

In 2016, Billerica was on the NeighborhoodScout's "America's Top 100 Safest Cities" list.[20]


Public schoolsEdit

Billerica Public Schools operate primary and secondary schools. The Billerica public school system consists of five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. A sixth elementary school, Eugene C. Vining Elementary, closed permanently at the end of the 2019 school year.[21] In addition, the town is home to a regional technical high school. Shawsheen Valley Technical Highschool.[22]

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Ditson Elementary School (Cook Street; Pinehurst)
  • Frederick J. Dutile Elementary School (Treble Cove Road; River Pines)
  • S. G. Hajjar Elementary School (Rogers & Call Streets; North Billerica)
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary School (Kimbrough Road & Carline Drive; East Billerica)
  • Parker Elementary School (River Street; Billerica Center)

Middle schoolsEdit

High schoolEdit

Vocational schoolEdit

Shawsheen Tech serves Billerica and four of its neighboring towns: Bedford, Burlington, Tewksbury, and Wilmington.

Parochial and private schoolsEdit

There are no parochial or private schools in the town of Billerica. However, there are several in neighboring towns including:

Catholic schoolsEdit

Sports and recreationEdit

In celebrating Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary, the magazine named Billerica one of the nation's top fifty towns for sports and recreation[23] and the "Sportstown for the Bay State."[24]


MBTA Commuter Rail provides service from Boston's North Station with the North Billerica station on its Lowell Line. The southern portions of the town are also geographically close to the Wilmington (MBTA station) and the Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn. The Lowell Regional Transit Authority provides bus service in parts of Billerica. Route #3 (South Lowell) services the North Billerica MBTA station and the North Billerica Business Center. Route #13 (Billerica via Edson) services Boston Road (Massachusetts Route 3A) from North Billerica to Pinehurst. Stops along the way include the North Billerica MBTA Station, Pollard Street, High Street, Billerica Center and Town Hall, the Billerica Mall, and Towne Plaza, and a shopping center located in Riverdale. Route #14 (Burlington Mall/Lahey Hospital & Medical Center) services Route 3A until Billerica Center, where it continues onto Concord Road and the Middlesex Turnpike.

The Middlesex Canal, which flowed through Billerica between 1795 and 1852, was used to transport goods between Lowell and Boston. Because of this key transportation corridor, Billerica earned the moniker "Gateway to Lowell."[citation needed]

In the 1840s, the Boston and Lowell Railroad's main line was built and passed through the town's villages of North Billerica and East Billerica. Stations were built in both locations and North Billerica Station is still an active station on the MBTA Commuter Rail. Trains stopped taking passengers at East Billerica in 1965 and the station was remodeled and is now a private home.


Pan Am Railways headquarters
  • E Ink Corporation, a privately held manufacturer of electrophoretic displays (EPDs) that powers tablets such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.
  • Raytheon Company, a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics, has two large offices in Billerica, MA.[25]
  • EMD Serono, Inc, the US biopharmaceutical division of Merck Group, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group, is undergoing a $75-million expansion of their Billerica facility, naming it the EMD Serono Research & Development Institute.[26]
  • GE Measurement & Control, a $5 billion energy technology unit of General Electric, recently moved its headquarters to Billerica, MA[27]
  • Cabot Corporation, a $3.3 billion specialty chemicals and performance materials company, has its primary Research and Development facility in Billerica, MA.[28]
  • Avaya Inc, a privately held $8 billion global provider of business communications and collaboration systems, has its New England headquarters in Billerica, MA.[28]
  • L3 Technologies, is a $15 billion American company that supplies command and control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C3ISR) systems and products, avionics, ocean products, training devices and services, instrumentation, space, and navigation products. They have a Billerica office on Concord Road.[29]
  • Pan Am Railways, New England's largest railroad, is headquartered in North Billerica, Massachusetts.[30][31]
  • Merck Millipore is the life sciences subsidiary of Merck and is headquartered in Billerica.
  • Pharmalucence, a biotech company which makes drugs for disease diagnosis has its corporate headquarters in Billerica.
  • American Science & Engineering, based in Billerica, "said it received a $6.7 million order for its X-ray detection technology that will be used by the US government for counterterrorism missions."[32]
  • Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc., the Billerica-based medical imaging company, "sealed a new purchasing deal with Ottawa-based MDS Nordion for a rare imaging isotope, molybdenum-99."[33]
  • Seahorse Bioscience, a labware products manufacturer, is also headquartered in North Billerica.[34]
  • Entegris, a provider of semiconductor handling solutions.[35]
  • Bruker, a manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research.[36]
  • FLIR Systems has a large facility in Billerica.[37]


Billerica is governed through a representative town meeting. In this system, the town government is made up of a legislative branch and an executive branch.

The town meeting is the legislative branch of the town and comprises approximately 240 meeting members who are elected from the town's 11 precincts and who vote democratically on town business at a bi-weekly town meeting that has two sessions a year. The first session begins in May and runs until business is concluded and the following session begins in October and similarly runs until business is concluded. The town charter states that "All powers of the town shall be vested in the representative town meeting, except as otherwise provided by law or by the charter." The town meeting also elects a moderator to regulate proceedings, decide questions of order and make public declarations of all votes. All town meeting members serve without compensation.

In addition to the town meeting, the town elects a board of five selectmen to serve as the executive head of the town. These selectmen deal with enforcing town laws, granting town licenses and the setting of town policy and are explicitly forbidden from becoming involved with day-to-day administration. To carry out that day-to-day administration the board of selectmen appoints a town manager. Alongside the board of selectmen the town elects the following: a school committee which appoints the superintendent and sets public school regulations, a town clerk to keep all town records and serve as custodian of the town seal, and a planning board which studies and prepares plans concerning the resources, possibilities and needs of the town.

The town charter also explicitly spells out the formation of a Department of Public Works to manage all utility services in the town.

Billerica is a part of Massachusetts's 6th congressional district.[38]

The Middlesex House of Correction and Jail is located off Treble Cove Road. This jail is under the jurisdiction of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office.[39]

Notable peopleEdit

Historic placesEdit

Sister cityEdit

Billerica is a sister city of Billericay, England, United Kingdom  .

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Meagher, Kathy. "Yankee Doodle: The Man". Billerica Public Library. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Billerica town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Hobson, Archie. Cambridge Gazetteer of the United States and Canada. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) p. 62
  4. ^ Hazen, Henry. History of Billerica. (Boston: A. Williams and Co., 1883) p. 3-15
  5. ^ The Key of Libberty; Shewing the Causes Why a Free Government Has Always Failed, and a Remedy Against It...; With Notes and a Foreword By Samuel Eliot Morison; by William Manning (1922)
  6. ^ The Billerica Colonial Minute Men; The Thomas Ditson story; retrieved on July 10, 2008
  7. ^ Street Atlas of Metro Boston Arrow Publishing Company, 1998.
  8. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  9. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  19. ^ "Best Places to Live 2009". CNN.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Safest cities to live in the USA - NeighborhoodScout". Retrieved 2016-05-28.
  21. ^ "A look to the future of Billerica's schools. Billerica Minuteman. June 3, 2019". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  22. ^ "Shawsheen Valley Technical High School". Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  23. ^ "Community Overview". Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Billerica honored as Sports Illustrated Sportstown for Bay State". CNN.
  25. ^ "Raytheon operations come to industrial park – Billerica, MA – Billerica Minuteman". Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  26. ^ "EMD Serono plans to increase Billerica work force as it ups its US headcount –". Archived from the original on June 8, 2015.
  27. ^ "Hot Seat interview with Brian Palmer, chief executive of GE Measurement and Control - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  28. ^ a b "@CabotLabs". Cabot Corporation. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  29. ^ "L-3 Communications". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  30. ^ Bellerica town, Massachusetts[permanent dead link]. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  31. ^ "Table of Contents Page." Pan Am Railways. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  32. ^ "$6.7m bomb screening deal lifts AS&E". The Boston Globe. 2010-06-29. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015.
  33. ^ "Lantheus inks purchasing deal with MDS Nordion for rare isotope – MassDevice". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  34. ^ "Company Overview of Seahorse Bioscience, Inc". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  35. ^ "Locations".
  36. ^ "Directions".
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-04. Retrieved 2018-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2011 Congressional Districts" (PDF). Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  39. ^ [1] Archived December 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ "Gary Disarcina Stats -". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  41. ^ "Tom Glavine Stats -". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  42. ^ "Dean Jenkins Stats -". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  43. ^ "Paul Miller Stats -". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  44. ^ "M'lle Morlacchi and Her Farm". Public Ledger (Memphis, Tenn.). 6 August 1870. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  45. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1872,' Biographical Sketch of Azel Wilder Patten, pg. 450
  46. ^ "Birthplace and Home of Asa Pollard - Billerica, MA - Massachusetts Historical Markers on". Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  47. ^ [2] Archived October 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "First Man Slain At Bunker Hill". Boston Daily Globe. 1904-06-19.
  49. ^ "The Dispatch - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 6 May 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit