Welcome to Middleboro
The town was first settled by Europeans in 1661 as Nemasket, later changed to Middlebury, and officially incorporated as Middleborough in 1669. The name Nemasket came from a Native American settlement along the small river that now bears the same name. Nemasket may have meant “place of fish” due to the large amount of herring that migrate up the river each spring. The name Middlebury was taken from a place in England, and changed to the more modern Middleborough.
During King Philip’s War (1675–76), the town’s entire populace took shelter within the confines of a fort constructed along the Nemasket River. (The site is located behind the old junior high school (now a kindergarten), and is marked by a state historical commission marker along Route 105.) Before long, the fort was abandoned and the population withdrew to the greater shelter of Plymouth colony; in their absence, the entire village was burned to the ground, and it would be several years before the town would be refounded. Western Middleborough broke away in 1853 and formed the town of Lakeville, taking with it main access to the large fresh water lakes there, including Assawompset Pond.
Middleborough was once called the “shoe capital of the world.” It is still home to the Alden Shoe Company, one of the last two shoe manufacturers remaining in America. Middleborough has since become the cranberry capital of the world, hosting the corporate headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberries. Middleborough is also the second-largest town in Massachusetts in terms of area. Notable sights include the 1870s Victorian-style town hall, the Greek revival-style town library (1903), and in the spring, the Nemasket River Alewife & Blueback herring run upstream to the Assawompset Ponds complex to spawn.
In recent history, Middleborough has made its mark through the prowess of its Little League program. In 1994 the Middleborough All Stars reached the Little League World Series by defeating Milburn-Short Hills, New Jersey to take the East Region title. The team would finish 3rd in the United States. They are one of only two Massachusetts Little League teams to win the East title (Andover Little League, 1988) before the splitting of the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions in 2001. In 1999, the team again won the Massachusetts State title and fell in the East Region final to Toms River, New Jersey – the eventual U.S. runner-up.
Since 2000, the team has reached the State semi-finals 4 times finishing 3rd in the state in 2000 and 2003, and 2nd in 2002 and 2008. The 2002 team was only beaten by U.S. runner-up, Jesse Burkett Little League of Worcester.