Acton is a suburban community located 25 miles northwest of Boston. Bordering towns include Westford, Littleton, Concord, Carlisle, Stow, Maynard, Sudbury and Boxborough. According to the 2010 census, there were 21,924 residents.
Over the years, the town has retained much of its rural New England character, as evidenced by the traditional town center and green, with fine examples of historic architecture, and the stone walls and tree-lined country roads. Acton affords a full range of services to its residents and businesses, including an active town government, top-notch libraries, a nationally accredited police department, a full-time fire department, and local and regional school systems that are ranked among the top in the state.
Commerce continues to thrive and grow in Acton due in large part to its prime location along Routes 2, 27 and 111, the commuter train stop, and its proximity to Route 495. A wide range of retail stores and services, a community theater, various types of commercial recreation and several museums, can all be found in Acton. Additionally, Acton has a total of over 1,650 acres of town-owned conservation lands.
The MBTA Commuter Rail Fitchburg Line train stops at the South Acton station. South Acton is a major station on the line at which many trains terminate. Besides the urban staops at Cambridge (Porter Square) and Boston (North Station Terminal), it is the only station on the line at which all trains stop. The Fitchburg Line provides services to Fitchburg, Leominster, Shirley, Ayer, Littleton, Concord, Lincoln, Weston, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and Boston. A commuter bus service to Copley Square in Boston is provided by Yankee Lines from the intersection of Routes 2A and 119 in Acton.
While Acton Center has been the civic center of the town since the revolution, the four other villages centers earned their nomenclature from the names of their corresponding railroad station.
Acton Center is the civic center of the town and is the site of the town hall, the main public library, a children’s playground, an obelisk monument commemorating Acton deaths in “the Concord Fight” of the Revolutionary War, a fire station, a Congregational church, and a 64-acre arboretum and conservation area. Otherwise, Acton Center is generally a residential area.
West Acton is an important commercial area of town, consisting of several commercial developments centered along Route 111. It developed in response to the growth of the Fitchburg Railroad in the 19th century.
South Acton used to be the most industrialized area of the town of Acton. In the 18th century, this area held many mills and other small industrial developments that used water power generated by Fort Pond Brook. The area includes the Faulkner Homestead (‘Faulkner House’), the oldest home still standing in Acton (dating back to 1707). The Faulkner Homestead was owned by the Faulkner family who also owned and ran a mill across the street. Jones Tavern is another still-standing revolutionary-era structure in South Acton that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The South Acton (MBTA station) is the only rail station on the Fitchburg line still active in Acton.
East Acton was originally a small commercial area that grew up around the East Acton train station in the 19th century. With the advent of the automobile, and the demise of this branch of the railroad, East Acton became a largely residential area with a commercial base that is situated along the Route 2A corridor
North Acton has had major growth in the period since 1975–80. With the growth of the Rte 2A/119 corridor, North Acton has developed many commercial complexes and condominium buildings. The Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area (also called NARA Park) contains a small swimming pond, an open-air auditorium, playing fields, and paved walking trail. North Acton also includes the Village of Nagog Woods, a housing development accessible from Route 2A/119 which is large enough to merit its own ZIP code, 01718.
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