Framingham’s Historic Centre Common

Early History

The Framingham Centre Common has been a site of religious and civic institutions in Framingham since the early 18th century. It is the geographical center of town and Framingham’s meeting houses have been located here since 1735. The last of those gathering places, the Village Hall (1834) anchors the Common and the District.

With the development of the Boston-Worcester Turnpike (Route 9) in the early 19th century, the area grew into a commercial hub, since Framingham Centre was the half way point between Boston and Worcester. Up to 17 stagecoaches a day stopped here during the toll road’s existence and beyond. When in 1834 the railroad built its line through South Framingham, commerce on the Common moved to downtown leaving the area nearly untouched by commercial development.

Long recognized as a unique part of Framingham, the District includes two local historic districts–the Centre Common Historic District (1978) and the Jonathan Maynard Historic District (1994), and a National Register of Historic Places District, the Framingham Centre Common Historic District (1990).

Modern Day

Today the area is a vibrant mix of residential development, commercial buildings such as restaurants and small businesses, and a significant number of religious and non-profit institutions.

Major contributors to the area’s cultural density include: Framingham State University, the Danforth Art Museum, the Framingham History Center, The Learning Center for the Deaf, and the Access Framingham cable TV studio.

The district continues to host many religious institutions as well with the First Parish Church, Plymouth Church, First Baptist Church, St. Bridget’s Church, and St. Andrew’s Church.

The Centre Common is frequently the site of many community events in all seasons, including summer concerts, festivals, a farmer’s market, Christmas caroling, public memorials and other gatherings.

Life In The Big City

After a long history as the state’s largest town, with a current population of over 73,000 residents, Framingham voted to become a city in 2017.  In January, 2020, the Massachusetts Cultural Council voted to designate the Framingham Centre Common Cultural District as the 49th cultural district in the Commonwealth.

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