Carlisle, MA

Brief History of Carlisle

First settled in 1650, Carlisle was twice a district before becoming a town. The first district was formed in 1754 entirely from the northerly part of Concord; but because the inhabitants could not agree on the location for building a meetinghouse for religious worship, the territory was returned to Concord in 1756.

In 1758, Timothy Wilkins gave 1.5 acres of land for building such a meetinghouse, which was erected in 1760 just northwest of the present First Religious Society in Carlisle Center. This was the spark needed to establish the second district of Carlisle during the Revolution on April 28, 1780 from portions of Concord, Acton, Chelmsford, and Billerica. At that time there were ninety dwellings and one hundred two families. Early industries other than farming included grist, fulling (mica) and saw mills. Later came granite and copper mining and the cranberry bog on Curve street.

In its first years, the district raised twenty-six men for the Continental Army. Considerable quantities of beef and clothing were furnished to support the county in its Revolutionary struggle. In 1812 the town again responded to the call for men for the military forces. The monument in the center of town (the marble statue of the Goddess of Liberty) was erected to the memory of the solders of the Civil War. On the common, there stands an honor roll on which are listed the names of those Carlisle residents who served our country in more recent conflicts.

On February 18, 1805 the town of Carlisle was incorporated. Although the population of Carlisle has quintupled under the pressures of suburban growth in the years since the Second World War, the town today still retains the rural charm of a New England village with its historic landmarks, and its Town Meeting form of government.


Reprinted from the Historical Guide to Carlisle Massachusetts, prepared by the Carlisle American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in 1975.

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