The Town of Sharon looks like a typical New England town--its central Post Office Square marked by three tall white church spires, its tree-lined streets leafing green in summer and traced with delicate white lace in winter. Yet this picture postcard comes to life as a busy commuter town of professionals, academics, civil servants, and business people as well as local enterprises, restaurateurs, artists, and active participants in a network of civic organizations. Sharon has an Open Town Meeting form of government, with three Selectmen and volunteer committees providing town governance.
Sharon, located 22 miles midway between Boston and Providence, has access to Boston and Providence via MBTA commuter trains, and to New York City and Washington, D.C., via Amtrak trains at nearby Route 128 station. Its population of 18,000--32 percent are children under 19, 56 percent are adults 25-64 years, and 10 percent are seniors over 65--lives mostly in single-family houses ranging from relatively modest ranches to luxury properties. Many town residents have second- and third-generation family roots in Sharon, but the town is also notable for its diversity and openness to newcomers. An Interfaith Clergy Council and an "Affirming Diversity" group foster cooperative understanding among several varieties of Christian and Jewish congregations, an Islamic mosque, and a Unitarian church as well as adherents of Eastern religions, and the group sponsors an annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration.
The Sharon School Department oversees a high school, a middle school, a regional vocational school, and three elementary schools, including an Alternative School at East Elementary School, all of which are committed to excellence in educating students. Sharon High School sends 96% of its graduating seniors on to institutions of higher learning.
“A nice place to live because it’s naturally beautiful,” says a welcome sign in Post Office Square, and Sharon lives up to this motto. “Lake Massapoag--the treasure of Sharon for its fun, beauty, and peacefulness,” writes a student. “The Lake is about 400 acres of water. When the sun sets, beautiful, vibrant colors reflect off the Lake.” Lake Massapoag is known for its concerts, fireworks, fishing, and good swimming on Memorial Beach. From the 1800s until the 1940s, Sharon was a summer resort to which people would come to stay at inns and hotels to enjoy the clean air and the Lake. The Town proudly holds the 2,250-acre Massachusetts Audubon Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, and has 60% of Borderland State Park comprising 1,260 acres within its borders, as well as the Warner, Massapoag Brook, and King Philip’s Rock nature trails. In addition, the Town has been successful in preserving an additional 1,500 acres of its area of 24 square miles as public conservation land, totaling more than 5,000 acres of protected open space in Sharon.
Public Library patrons can use 80,000 books as well as magazines, music CDs, audio books, videotapes, e-mail, and the Internet. The Community Center, a former resort hotel that the Town acquired in 1967, has activities for all ages, such as dance, karate, yoga, language lessons, chorus, chess, sports club, theater, and community television, and a beach for swimming and fishing. The Recreation Department and citizens’ groups sponsor a tots’ playground, baseball, basketball, tennis, and soccer as well as community events like Square Jam (music), Fourth of July, Family Week, and First Night (New Year’s).
Sharon was established as the 2nd Precinct of Stoughton in 1740. It was incorporated as the Town of Stoughtonham in 1765 and named Sharon in 1783. Native Americans hunted and fished in the area for hundreds of years before British settlers came in 1637. During the American Revolution, the townspeople--mostly farmers and craftsmen--made cannonballs for the
Continental Army. Among the old homes surviving since those times are the houses of the patriots Job Swift and Deborah Sampson Gannett.
Beauty and diversity are the key words for Sharon, an attractive community among its neighbors Canton, Norwood, Walpole, Foxboro, Stoughton, Mansfield, and Easton.