History of North Attleborough
North Attleborough formerly a part of Attleborough] is an industrial town adjacent to the Rhode Island border. In pre-Colonial times, it was the site of the Bay Path, a major Indian trail to Narragansett Bay, the Seekonk River and Boston.
John Woodcock and his family established a small settlement in what is is now North Attleborough around 1669. Their primary means of survival was based on agriculture, fishing and hunting. By 1670, Woodcock had received a license to open a tavern. The settlement was attacked during King Philip's War, with two killed and one home burned, but the garrison house which Woodcock had built survived the attack. The Woodcock-Garrison house was used as sleeping quarters for George Washington on his army's march to Boston to rid the city of General Thomas Gage's troops. The Garrison house is still open for tours and is an especially popular destination for field trips by local school children.
Image Courtesy of North Attleborough Historical Society.
The Growth of Industry in North Attleborough
By 1776, there were 2200 people living in North Attleborough. In about 1780, a French settler set up a forge for working brass and the industrial era arrived in  Attleborough. Englishmen brought with them British machinery from Birmingham in 1794 and designed American improvements in button making which they patented. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, small grist and sawmills were built along the Ten Mile River, and subsequently established nail factories were eventually eclipsed by cotton spinning mills. The development of cotton spinning was spurred by the embargo on imports resulting from the War of 1812. Textiles and jewelry manufacturing were the staple industries of the town by 1832 but buttons were king. By 1834, it was said that North Attleboro produced more buttons than anywhere else in the United States.
How North Attleborough Split From Attleborough
Until 1887, North Attleborough was part of Attleborough. The residents of the village of East Attleborough (now Attleborough centre) chose to secede, and had the higher population and the votes to keep the name of Attleboro, the traditional spelling. When re-incorporating as the City of Attleborough, they chose to officially alter the name of their city. North Attleborough, the original settlement, kept the original official spelling, but lost the distinction of being Attleborough, and its founding date of 1694 was also appropriated by Attleborough.
Industry in North Attleborough, MA
In the twentieth century, North Attleborough was home at various times to the jewelry firms Jostens, the world's largest class ring manufacturer and the Balfour Company, prominent maker of championship rings including for the National Football League's Super Bowl champions and Major League Baseball's World Series' winners.
Through the 19th century there was tremendous growth and innovation in the jewelry industry and the number of firms in the town increased sharply. By 1855, there were 24 shops making almost $1 million in jewelry in both Attleborough and North Attleborough. The American Civil War spurred their growth with profitable U.S. Army orders for badges and medals. In 1887, North Attleboro was officially incorporated as a town. Today it is a thriving center of business and commerce with a small industrial park and many shops and stores along US Route 1 which travels through the center of town.
North Attleborough Listed as One of the Safest and Most Affordable Places to Live
In 2006, North Attleborough was rated in the top ten for professional sports communities in the entire country and was also listed as one of the most affordable and safest places to raise a family.
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