Attleboro Timeline

17th Century
1634 The first English settlers arrive in the territory that is present day Attleboro
1669 John Woodcock establishes a small family settlement and tavern in North Attleborough that will later come under native American attack during King Philip's War (1675-76)
1680 For the first time, settlers hire a teacher to instruct local boys in reading and writing
1694 Attleborough is incorporated as a town from a portion of Rehoboth known as the North Purchase
1696 The first Attleborough town meeting on record is held
1698 Attleborough appoints its first schoolmaster and the following year hires a teacher to instruct both boys and girls to "read English, and write, and cast accounts"
18th Century
1714 Construction of the town's First Congregational Church meetinghouse, in North Attleborough, is completed
1743 Work begins on the town's Second Congregational Church meetinghouse, in Attleborough, and Rev. Peter Thacher is elected minister
1745 The present day town of Cumberland is taken from Attleborough and annexed to the colony of Rhode Island by Royal Charter
1768 Attleborough town meeting votes to authorize the building of a powder house for safe keeping of the town's stock of ammunition
1773 Town meeting voters adopt a statement asserting that their rights are given by nature, but are being violated by the British Crown 
1776 Members of a town committee instruct Attleborough's representative to the Massachusetts General Court, Capt. John Stearns, that if the Continental Congress votes for independence from Great Britain, they will defend the decision "with our lives and fortunes"
1779 Attleborough sends three representatives to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in Cambridge
1780 A settler known as "the Frenchman" establishes a brass working forge in North Attleborough village, giving birth to the button-making and jewelry industries in town
1781 Col. David Cobb, a native of Attleborough, is appointed aide de camp to Gen. George Washington of the Continental Army
19th Century
1809 Attleborough Manufacturing Co., operated by the Dodge family, opens a cotton textile factory and later builds Dodgeville to provide housing, a school and a store for its workers and their families
1812 Atherton Manufacturing Co., later Hebron Manufacturing Co., begins production of textiles at what will become Hebronville, a village of tenement housing for mill employees and their families
1825 Town meeting decides that Attleborough should purchase an almshouse for the poor, which opens two years later
1827 Col. Willard Blackinton establishes a business that makes power loom shuttles for textile manufacturers
1827 Attleborough voters authorize selectmen to seek proposals for a town meeting house, which is built in 1828 at a cost of $80
1845 Two people are killed when the Attleborough almshouse on Watery Hill is destroyed by fire
1855 Nearly 25 jewelry, medal and button manufacturers are operating in Attleborough
1856 For the first time, a study committee recommends that due to rapidly growing but separate population centers, Attleborough and North Attleborough be divided into two towns, but no vote is taken
1857 The Attleborough Weekly Bulletin begins publication as the town's first newspaper, but goes out of business within a year
1857 The town's first Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's, is built in North Attleborough
Hundreds of Attleborough men serve in the Civil War - mainly in the 7th, 18th, 24th, 26th, 40th, 47th and 58th Massachusetts infantry regiments - with town meeting voters approving $100 bounties for voluntary enlistments and aid payments to soldiers' families
1870 The textile mills at Dodgeville and Hebronville now operate under the common ownership of Hebron Manufacturing Co.
1871 A new weekly newspaper, The Attleborough Chronicle, is published for the first time
1875 The Attleborough Advocate begins weekly publication and 14 years later becomes The Attleborough Daily Sun
1884 Construction of the town's first high schools - at Bank and Peck Streets in Attleborough and on High Street in North Attleborough - is completed 18 years after the town meeting vote establishing them
1885 The town's second Roman Catholic church, St. John's in Attleborough, is dedicated by Bishop Hendricken of Providence
1886 Attleborough's first theatre, Bates Opera House, opens its doors at Park and North Main Streets
1887 By 23 votes of more than 1,300 ballots cast, the town's voters approve a referendum dividing Attleborough and North Attleborough into separate communities
1898 The Great Fire sweeps through Attleborough, devastating four acres of the downtown area, destroying more than a dozen businesses and factories valued at more than $750,000, and leaving 1,500 people out of work.
20th Century
1903 James Solomon, a peddlar of herbal remedies, opens a locally-financed $400,000 cancer sanatorium, later to be known as Attleboro Springs, at what today is LaSalette Shrine
1913 A victorian mansion donated to Attleborough and renovated with private funds opens its doors as Sturdy Memorial Hospital, with beds for 15 patients
1913 L.G. Balfour Co. opens its first jewelry manufacturing plant in town
1914 Attleboro is re-incorporated as a city & Harold Sweet is elected its first mayor
1915 Bates Opera House becomes the first Attleboro theatre to screen a feature-length silent film: D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation
More than 800 men from Attleboro serve in the U.S. armed forces during the Great War (Wolrd War I)
Major league baseball stars Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Rogers Hornsby and others - paid by wealthy local businessmen - play in the "Little World Series" won by Attleboro in 1919 and North Attleborough in 1920
1921 Attleboro and North Attleborough begin their long-running Thanksgiving high school football rivalry
1938 A powerful hurricane strikes Attleboro, causing widespread property damage and knocking out electrical power across the city
More than 2,500 Attleboro men and women serve in the U.S. armed forces during World War II
1949 Cyril Brennan is elected to the first of his record eight consecutive two-year terms as mayor
1950 Attleboro's first and only radio station, WARA, begins broadcasting at 1320 on the AM dial
1953 Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette re-open the former Attleboro Springs as a major seminary and religious shrine
1964 A major explosion rips through Thompson Chemical Co. in Hebronville, destroying half of the factory and killing seven people
1966 The U.S. Army launches "Operation Attleboro," an assault on Viet Cong suppy lines along the Cambodian border led by its Attleboro-based 196th Light Infantry Brigade
1971 The Attleboro Sun and The Evening Chronicle of North Attleborough merge into a single daily newspaper: The Sun Chronicle
1978 A powerful Nor'easter to be recalled as the Blizzard of '78 dumps between two and three feet of snow on Attleboro, leaving much of the city paralyzed for days
1983 School committee member Brenda Reed is elected the first woman mayor of Attleboro
1985 City councilor and local businessman Kai Shang defeats Reed in her re-election bid to become Attleboro's first Asian-American mayor
1996 L.G. Balfour Co. merges with competitor ArtCarved and moves all Attleboro jewelry manufacturing operations to Texas
1998 Radio station WARA changes call letters to WJYT and drops local programming in favor of a Spanish format
1999 Fire destroys LaSalette Shrine's Provincial House, the former Attleboro Springs Sanatorium, killing one priest
21st Century
2003 At age 27, Kevin Dumas becomes the youngest person ever elected mayor of Attleboro
2008 In one of the city's largest heists, thieves disable alarms and cut through a roof to steal $2 million in gold, diamonds and jewelry from E.A. Dion Inc.

Sources for this historical timeline include several of the publications  listed on this web site's Links & Resources page, most notably the histories by Daggett and Studley, as well as public records and contemporary media accounts. 




City Hall

77 Park Street

Attleboro, MA 02703


Hours: 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Monday - Friday


Phone: (508)223-2222

Fax:     (508)222-3046