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Shirley[1] is a city in Central Massachusetts. The town was named for former Governor William Shirley. The town was settled in 1720 and incorporated in 1775.

Get in

By Car

Route 2 West to Exit 38B (Route 110 / 111), 37B (Fort Devens) or 36 (Shirley Road)

By Train

Commuter Rail (Fitchburg Line) West to Shirley Station (Zone 8)

Get around

Not much public transit, need a car to get around.


First Parish Meeting House on the Common, Shirley, MA
  • Shirley Common – Corner of Parker and Horsepond Roads. The public space where many summer festivals and town events occur. There is a Civil War monument in the center that was dedicated May 30, 1891. Its inscription reads: "Erected by the Citizens of Shirley in memory of those brave men who in response to the nation's call hazarded their lives to suppress the Great Rebellion 1861-1865."
  • First Parish Meeting House – On the Shirley Common. (Phone: 978-425-9262) The building was built in 1773 moved by oxen to its current location in 1851. Today it can be rented for weddings.
  • Old Town Hall – Also on the Shirley Common next to First Parish Meeting House. The Greek Revival building was built in 1847 and was rebuilt in 1950 by Lucien Gionet after being struck by lightning.
  • Center Cemetery – This is an 18th century cemetery is across from Shirley Common. Records of burials are available at the Historical Society museum.
  • Lake Shirley - Flat Hill Road to Sunset Lane. Recreation area where you can swim, boat, and otherwise kickback.
  • Bull Run Tavern - 215 Great Road (Route 2A) (Phone: 978-425-4311) [2] - Lots of legends and lore go along with the tavern. It is said that Paul Revere rode threw every town in Middlesex county and Shirley is the furthest western town in the county. (FYI there is actually no evidence that Revere knocked on the door of the Bull Run Tavern.) The site also features a covered wooden bridge behind the tavern.
  • Shirley Shaker Village - Harvard Road (Phone: 978-425-9328) [3] – The Shaker village was community from 1793 to 1908. 11 of the original buildings as well as the cemetery remain to this day. The Shaker Village is now on the grounds of a Massachusetts Correctional Facility but the Shaker sites are open to guided tours by the Shirley Historical Society. [4] Permission to enter the complex must be obtained from the MCI Superintendent's office.
  • Old Firehouse - Main Street. - This Queen Anne Style building was built in 1894. The same architect who designed the original Hazen Library designed it.
  • Oliver Holden Birthplace - Squanacock Road. Birthplace of Oliver Holden, Composer of hymn "Coronation", one of the hymns known by memory by Civil War soldiers. He also wrote "Worcester Collection of Sacred Harmony" that was the first book to be printed on movable type in the US.
  • MacKaye Cottage - Parker Road. The cottage was built 1836 and bought by actor Will MacKaye in 1886. Will's relatives include Benton, founder of the Appalachian Trail, Hazel, a suffragette and Steele, an actor, producer, author, inventor.
  • Fredonian Park - Fredonian Road off of Main Street. Wide open grounds with a gazebo next to a brook. The bridges and boardwalk were torn out after being judged structurally unsound but some of the remains were used to install walkways over the old trail system.
  • Whiteley Park - Main Street across from the train station. The last Shaker Elder gave the land to the town in 1896. The park now contains several War Memorials and the grounds come to life during Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July.


  • Shirley Historical Society Museum at the Lucy Longley Memorial Building. 182 Center Road. [5] Museum Hours: Most Saturday's 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Special appointments are also possible.
  • Hazen Memorial Library, 3 Keady Way, Phone: 978-425-2620, [6].





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