For most of its history, the town of Shrewsbury was a small farming village with virtually no industry to speak of. The railroad didn’t pass through the area either, making town less attractive to business interests. This all began to change around the First World War era, with large numbers of immigrants moving to town. New neighbourhoods sprang up almost overnight, necessitating the building of more schools, roads, and homes.
The area around Lake Quinsigamond quickly developed into a very popular resort, with the opening of the great White City Amusement Park only spurring more growth in the area.
Routes 9 and 20, modern highways for their day were built in the early 1930s, bringing with them more traffic and visitors. All types of businesses began to spring up, with many restaurants, nightclubs, and stores appearing. The days of Shrewsbury as a quiet farming village rapidly disappeared, with the town evolving into the modern, vibrant community it is today.
A local historian, author, and newspaper columnist, Michael Perna Jr. is a life-long resident of Shrewsbury, MA. He is retired from the Air National Guard and is presently the Chief of the Military Records Branch of the Commonwealth of MA. He is a past president of the Shrewsbury Historical Society, member of the town’s Historical Commission, and served as a member of the town’s Historic District Commission for many years. He is married and has two sons and four grandchildren.