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Located in Middlesex County about 50 miles north of Boston and only a town or two from the New Hampshire border, Shirley is governed by Open Town Meeting and a three-member Board of Selectmen. The town offers modern amenities and a slice of quiet, small town life, with rural ambience, a sense of civic pride and volunteer spirit among residents and well-preserved historic roots. The town has a full compliment of municipal services courtesy of the town’s police, fire and highway departments.
Shirley’s small but friendly business community has growth potential. A new regional school system shared with the neighboring Town of Ayer officially launched in 2011. Other perks include reasonably-priced homes, convenient commuter rail service via the train station in Shirley Village and highway access via Route 2A and nearby Route 2.
Settled in 1720 and incorporated in 1753, Shirley was named for a former governor. Some names in town are those of founding families and many handsome historic homes still stand, particularly in the picture-perfect Town Center, where the gracious white spire of Shirley’s Historic Meetinghouse rises high above the trees. The original section of the First Parish Meetinghouse was erected in 1773 and formerly housed religious congregations. More than a cherished landmark and charming timepiece today, the Historic Meetinghouse is lovingly preserved by a private group and hosts a variety of cultural and community events, some of which help pay for its maintenance.