Since its origin as a town in 1704, Sutton (population 9,000) has served as an agricultural producer, supplying food and other agricultural products for the workforce of nearby industrial areas.
Characterized by open space and a peaceful atmosphere, Sutton has preserved its historic heritage by creating two historic districts, one of which encompasses 22 sites and links to the multi-town Blackstone Canal Historic District.
Now celebrating its 300th anniversary, Sutton boasts two colonial-era farms listed in the National Register, including the exceptional Waters Farm, operated continuously by six generations of one family from 1757 through 1974. The farm includes recreational nature trails and functions as a living history museum, hosting an annual heritage celebration each October that draws over 6,000 visitors.
Strong public-private partnerships and active volunteer involvement have enabled Sutton to restore and interpret these sites for public education and enjoyment. Plans are underway to market this resource to a more national audience, balancing public access with appropriate land conservation measures.
The town also saved the colonial era Halls-Mills residence from demolition by assuming interim ownership prior to resale with protective covenants. The historic Town Common has a stone-walled animal pound, used since its early days to hold stray livestock, and a bandstand used for concerts and other events.
Though Sutton's character has changed over the past century with the decline of cottage industries and mill production and the spread of suburban development, Sutton has preserved many historic homesteads and community buildings, and much of its rural landscape.
Designated a Preserve America Community in June 2004.