Fitchburg was first settled in 1730 as part of Lunenburg, and was officially set apart from
that township and incorporated in 1764. It is named after John Fitch, a settler. In 1748,
during the French and Indian War, Fitch and his family, living in this isolated spot, were
abducted by Native Americans and brought to Canada, but they returned to Fitchburg the
According to the United States Census Bureau, Fitchburg has a total area of 28.1 square
miles, of which 27.8 square miles is land and 0.3 is water. The city is drained by the
Nashua River. Fitchburg is very hilly and is often referred to as the second hilliest city
in the United States after San Francisco. The highest point in Fitchburg is the summit
of Brown Hill near the northwestern corner of the city, at 1,210 feet above sea level.
Fitchburg is bordered by Ashby to the north, Lunenburg to the east, Leominster to the
south, Westminster to the west, and a small portion of Ashburnham to the northwest.
As of 2010, there were 40,318 people, 15,165 households, and 9,362 families residing in
the city. The population density was 1,450 people per square mile. The racial makeup of
the city was 78.2% White, 5.1% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.6% Asian,
9.1% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races.
Fitchburg is very attractive to young professionals, families, and businesses. These
groups are choosing Fitchburg because of its great location, affordable housing/taxes,
recreational assets, historic downtown, strong school system, and commuter rail access.
Fitchburg State University (www.fsc.edu) is the staple of the city and one of Fitchburg’s
largest employers, with more than 500 full-time employees. It is a public 4 year
institution dedicated to integrating high-quality professional programs with strong
liberal arts and sciences studies. Founded in 1894, the university now has more than 30
undergraduate programs and 22 master's degree programs, and 7,000 full and part-time
students. The University is an economic engine with an economic impact of more than
$100 million dollars to the city.