Millis, Massachusetts

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Millis is a town in Norfolk County in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It is a small town with a population of 8,029 according to the 2009 census. The town is approximately 19 miles (31 km) southwest of downtown Boston and is bordered by Norfolk, Sherborn, Holliston, Medfield, and Medway. Massachusetts state routes 109 and 115 run through Millis.

For geographic and demographic information on the village of Millis-Clicquot, see Millis-Clicquot, Massachusetts.



Millis was first settled in 1657 and was officially incorporated in 1885. Millis was originally part of Dedham, Massachusetts until that town granted the lands of Millis, and other present day surrounding towns, to Medfield in 1651. In 1713, pioneers of Medfield applied for a grant to create a new town and, when approved, named this new land Medway. This new town consisted of West Medway (the present day town) and East Medway (present day Millis). Lansing Millis, the founder of the town, successfully incorporated Millis into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on February 24, 1885.

Lansing Millis was successful in turning the small town of Millis into an important area of Massachusetts. Lansing Millis, who was widely known as a connoisseur in railroads and trains, built up a strong rail system in Millis. This was arguably his most important accomplishment, as the rail system is regarded as the most significant factor in its independence from Medway. In addition, the railroad system was a major factor in the early promotion of economic growth in the town and the integration of Millis to the larger cities of Dedham, Boston, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently, this old railroad that used to begin in Medway is known as the Bay Colony Railroad. The Medway tracks have since been dismantled, making Millis the railroad's western terminus. The railroad is now mostly defunct, but several miles of the Bay Colony tracks in Millis are privately owned and operated by the GAF industrial enterprise located in the Clicquot neighborhood of Millis. The Bay Colony Railroad merges with the present day MBTA Commuter Rail in Needham.

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