The Town of Barre is the largest community in the Quabbin Regional School District with about 5300 residents. It covers 41 square miles in central Massachusetts, just 22 miles north of Worcester and 60 miles west of Boston. State highway Routes 32, 62 and 122 bring travelers and transportation through this rural community. Once an agriculturally-based economy, the town is now primarily residential with little industry. The Quabbin School District is the largest employer with the private Stetson School being the next largest employer.
An active community, Barre has something for everyone with a lovely town common complete with bandstand for its popular summer community concerts. During the summer, the common hosts local Farmer’s Market. Felton Field, the town’s recreational location, is abound with activities as youth play rec-league baseball and softball, local equestrian’s participate in competitions and tennis buffs play at the QRSD-maintained courts – the home court for the Quabbin high girls and boys tennis teams. In town center, the Barre Players, a local amateur performing group, perform throughout the year in their own theater. Across the common is the Listening Center, a location for yoga, mediation and healing arts.
The Town is governed by a board of selectmen with an Annual Town Meeting.
Hubbardston is the second largest community in the Quabbin district with 42 square miles and about 4500 residents. Also a central Massachusetts town, Hubbardston is 56 miles west of Boston and 19 miles northwest of Worcester. Routes 62 and 68 intersect the town bringing travelers to nearby east-west bound Route 2. Primarily a residential community, it is a lively one with a town maintained recreational area for youth and adult sports. The town’s largest body of water, Mare Meadow Reservoir, is the City of Fitchburg’s drinking water source. Nearby lakes and ponds offer plenty of fishing and winter skating. The town has a high elevation compared to the other Quabbin-district towns as it is on the foot of Mount Wachusett, a popular outdoor recreation area, complete with downhill skiing or riding.
Hubbardston is governed by a board of selectmen and an annual Town Meeting.
To the west of Barre lies the Town of Hardwick comprised of three villages: Gilbertville, Wheelwright and Hardwick. The 38-square mile community is 24 miles northwest of Worcester and 73 miles west of Boston with state routes 32 & 32A taking travelers to Ware, Barre or Petersham. Hardwick is the quintessential New England community complete with its white-steepled church on the town common, surrounded by white clapboarded Colonial-era homes. The town has little industry with many horse farms. It is truly a rural, agricultural setting. The Hardwick Elementary School is located in the Village of Gilbertville, set on acres of grassy fields, surrounded by days-gone-by dairy farms.
As a member of the Quabbin School District, youth of Hardwick participate in Quabbin Youth Rec League sports including soccer, baseball, softball and basketball. The private school Eagle Hill School is located just off Hardwick center and is the home of the local Gilbert Players performing troupe.
The northwest part of the town borders the Quabbin Reservoir, the largest man-made reservior in the state. Ideal for fishing, hiking, and enjoying nature, the reservoir is the City of Boston’s drinking water source.
Hardwick is governed by a board of selectmen and annual Open Town Meeting.
The Town of Oakham is located just south of Barre – northwest of Worcester – with its center atop a hill on Maple Street. The 21-sq mile town is complete with a field stone Fobes Library, a youth recreational sports field, its white-steepled Congregational Church and a bandstand for summertime local lawn concerts, Oakham is a vibrant community. About 30% of the town is owned by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Oakham too is of agricultural base yet is an uprising suburban community to Worcester and Boston. It is abutted by Rutland to the south, New Braintree and North Brookfield to the west, and Barre to the north. Routes 122 and 148 take travelers to the outskirts of the town while Route 67 runs through nearby New Braintree. Travelers can also access the town center, which leads to the Oakham Center School, from Old Turnpike Road.
New in 2010, the students and families of the Oakham Center School will better use educational resources as they participate in a grade-level reconfiguration. On opening day, 2010, Oakham’s kindergarteners and first graders joined their New Braintree classmates at the New Braintree Grade School. Second through sixth grade students remained in OCS, and are joined by their classmates who reside in New Braintree.
Oakham is governed by a board of selectmen and annual Open Town Meeting.
This 20.7 square mile community is the smallest in the Quabbin school district with a population of about 1000 residents. The town is primarily agricultural with many working farms as the means of sustenance for many families. The New Braintree Grade School is located in town center, next to the town library which it shares with students, and across from the Town Hall. Adjacent are recreational sports fields for youth baseball, softball and soccer.
New Braintree is home to the Massachusetts State Police Academy, has its own volunteer fire department and shares its police department with neighboring Hardwick. Ambulance services are provided by the neighboring town of Barre.
Beginning in the 2010 academic year, the New Braintree Grade School and Oakham Center School reconfigured their grade structure to offer students a more challenging academic opportunity. Students in grades K – 1 from New Braintree and Oakham attend school at the New Braintree Grade School. New Braintree’s second through sixth grade students attend school at the Oakham Center School.
New Braintree is governed by a board of selectmen and annual Open Town Meeting.
(Image of New Braintree courtesy of moontideimages.com )