Bolton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Bolton is in central Massachusetts, located 25 miles west-northwest of downtown Boston along Interstate 495. It is within Greater Boston and MetroWest regions. The population was 5,665 at the 2020 census.[2]

Bolton, Massachusetts
Sawyer House, Bolton Historical Society
Sawyer House, Bolton Historical Society
Flag of Bolton, Massachusetts
Official seal of Bolton, Massachusetts
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°26′00″N 71°36′30″W / 42.43333°N 71.60833°W / 42.43333; -71.60833
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Town
Donald (Don) Lowe[1]
 • Board of
Stanley Wysocki
Jonathan Keep
Robert Czekanski
 • Total20.0 sq mi (51.8 km2)
 • Land19.9 sq mi (51.6 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
387 ft (118 m)
 • Total5,665
 • Density280/sq mi (110/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code351 / 978
FIPS code25-06365
GNIS feature ID0618357

Settled in the 1600s and incorporated in 1738, the town is still home to many farms and apple orchards as well the well-known Nashoba Valley Winery[3] and The International Golf Club, which has hosted several major tournaments.[4] The Bolton Flats Wildlife Management Area is largely located in the town near the Nashua River and Still River[5] as well as many other parks and conservation areas.[6]


Bolton Public Library, built in 1904 in a Tudor Revival style

Prior to its incorporation, the area was settled by English farmers in the 1600s near where the Nashaway tribe fished and farmed along the Nashua River.[7] In 1643 Thomas King of Watertown had purchased the land from the sachem Sholan of the Nashaway as the southeastern corner of the Nashaway (Lancaster) purchase.[8] The land in what is now Bolton was formerly part of the town of Lancaster until Bolton seceded along the Still River, where the current boundary line still stands.[9] The town of Bolton was incorporated on June 24, 1738, following an influx of settlers and was named after the Duke of Bolton.[10]

In 1656 the Concord highway was laid out over Wattaquadock Hill in Bolton.[11] By 1711 more than 150 people were living on Bolton soil, despite a local history of Indian uprisings and one massacre during King Philip's War.[12] Many early houses were protected by flankers, and were designated as garrisons.[13] After the War various small industries developed in Bolton including the mining of limestone at Bolton Lime Kiln and Quarry.

During the American Revolution Bolton farmers erected a liberty pole at the town center and largely supported the revolutionary cause. General John Whitcomb of Bolton was elected the first Major-General of the Massachusetts Army at the third Provincial Congress in 1775. He was a minuteman leader at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill.[14] By the Civil War in the 1860s Bolton residents had formed an abolitionist society, and twenty-one Bolton residents died fighting for the Union.[15] The Bolton Fair was founded in Bolton in 1874 as an agricultural fair, but the fairgrounds were later moved to nearby Lancaster in 2004 where it is still held annually.[16]

In the 1920s Bolton was used as a setting and mentioned a number of times in H.P. Lovecraft's fiction: as a setting in his Herbert West—Reanimator, and also mentioned in his The Rats in the Walls and The Colour out of Space. However, H.P. Lovecraft's Bolton was located on the North Shore near Ipswich, Massachusetts, and was described as a factory town bearing little resemblance to the actual town.[17]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.0 square miles (52 km2), of which 19.9 square miles (52 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.35%, is water. Wattaquadock Hill and Vaughn Hill's North Peak are the highest points in Bolton.[18]


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]

As of the census[30] of 2010, there were 4,897 people, 1,670 households, and 1,391 families residing in the town. The population density was 246.1 inhabitants per square mile (95.0/km2). There were 1,738 housing units at an average density of 87.3 per square mile (33.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 1,670 households, out of which 43.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.3% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a male householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.7% were non-families. The householders of 12.1% of all households were living alone and the householders of 4.9% of households were living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 31.2% of the population 19 and under, 3.4% from 20 to 24, 19.7% from 25 to 44, 36.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

As of 2015, the median income for a household in the town was $147,446, and the median income for a family was $155,063. Males had a median income of $101,042 versus $71,905 for females. The per capita income for the town was $51,791.[31] About 1.3% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 2.0% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture


National Historic Places



State government
State Representative(s): Kate Hogan (D)
State Senator(s): Robyn Kennedy (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Lori Trahan (D) (3rd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)



Bolton is a member of the Nashoba Regional School District, also serving the towns of Lancaster and Stow. Bolton is home to Florence Sawyer School (Pre-K–8) and Nashoba Regional High School.

Notable people



  1. ^ "New town administrator is fitting right in", Bolton Common, May 29, 2009.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Bolton town, Worcester County, Massachusetts". Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  3. ^ "In Massachusetts' Nashoba Valley, Apple Orchards Are Just the Beginning". NECN. September 18, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  4. ^ "LIV Golf not returning to The International in Bolton in 2023 - The Boston Globe". Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  5. ^ Bolton Reconnaissance Report, Mass. DCR, Freddom's Way Heritage Association, p. 10 (accessed 9/21/23)
  6. ^ "Bolton Trails – The website of Bolton Trails Committee. Maps, routes, paths and events on conservation land in Bolton Massachusetts". Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  7. ^ "Contact and Plantation Periods (1500-1675) | Bolton MA". Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  8. ^ Community-Wide Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey of Bolton, Massachusetts for Bolton Historical Commission citing Whitney, P. 1793 The History of the County of Worcester. Isaiah Thomas, Worcester. (accessed 3/27/2024)
  9. ^ Whitcomb, Esther Kimmon (1988). About Bolton. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc. ISBN 1-55613-105-4.
  10. ^ Whitcomb
  11. ^ "History of Lancaster," The Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal, Volume II, 1826 Worcester County (Mass.)), p. 284, accessible on google books
  12. ^ Whitcomb
  13. ^ Whitcomb
  14. ^ "Federal Period (1776-1830) | Bolton MA". Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  15. ^ "Early Industrial Period (1831-1872) | Bolton MA". Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  16. ^ Doherty, Kevin (August 10, 2010). "Bolton Fair stays true to agricultural roots". Sentinel and Enterprise. Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  17. ^ Haden, David (July 15, 2013). "Lovecraft and Bolton, Mass".
  18. ^ "Vaughn Hills Map 2" (PDF). Bolton Trails. Retrieved May 24, 2024.
  19. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  20. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  29. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2023". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  30. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  31. ^ "2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2016.