Natick is a suburban industrial center located on the upper basin of
the Charles and Concord Rivers with an extensive complex of ponds. The
town was from earliest Colonial days a prime target for development,
possessing as it did good agricultural land, fish runs and water power.
Established in 1650 on the Charles River, Natick had the first and the
largest Indian praying town in the colonies, one that became a model
for all other attempts to inculcate European standards into Indians.
John Eliot, the great missionary, secured a charter of 6,000 acres for
the Indians and converted them to Christianity. Unfortunately, Natick's
Indian population was forcibly resettled on Deer Island during the King
Philip's war and essentially never returned.
In Colonial days, Natick was an agricultural community with
some orchards and some lumbering. Grist and sawmills were established
and Indian ownership and control gave way to white dominance between
1676 and 1776. Local tradition claims that several loads of Natick men
shipped out to the California gold rush in 1849 and 1850, returning
with enough capital to start independent businesses in the town. The
shoe industry dominated the community by the early 19th century, with
the first shoe sole manufacturer established in 1827 and shoes shipped
to the southern and western markets by 1830. The town's products,
including baseballs manufactured in Natick, were shipped to Boston on
the Boston and Worcester Railroad. The town saw rapid growth including
an Irish, English, Nova Scotian, Italian and Armenian immigrant
population which came to take jobs in the shoe plants and by the
1880's, Natick was the third largest shoe production community in the
In modern times, Natick has become an industrial Boston-oriented suburban community with heavy strip development on Route 9.
It is located in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by Framingham
on the west, Wayland and Weston on the north, Wellesley and Dover on
the east, and Dover and Sherborn on the south. Natick is 18 miles
southwest of Boston; 25 miles east of Worcester; 35 miles north of
Providence, Rhode Island; and about 201 miles from New York City.