Gregory Stahl and the town of Wrentham go way back.
And he has a wide-reaching perspective on its history. Not only have he and his wife, Irene, lived in town their entire lives, but he is chairman of the town’s Historical Commission, on which he has served for more than 30 years.
“When I was young in the 1950s, there wasn’t a lot of suburban development yet. Wrentham was full of farms, [but many] were on their last legs,’’ said Stahl, an excavation and landscape contractor. “I did a lot of walking and hiking, so I know most of the town pretty well.’’
Stahl lives on the eastern side of Wrentham on part of his family’s farmland, which was purchased in the 1940s; his older brother and sister carved out space on the property as well. “We still have a lot of neighbors we had 40 or 50 years ago, although a new generation of them,’’ he said. “There’s quite a few of us around, actually. A lot of people move out of Wrentham and move back.’’
The town’s lakes have been a big draw for years, Stahl said. “We have a lot of people in Wrentham from Dorchester and Hyde Park. Their parents and grandparents would vacation out to Wrentham and have summer cottages, and eventually people moved in as full-time residents.’’
Part of Wrentham’s appeal is that it has maintained a residential character, lacking the commercial sprawl of some neighboring towns. Yes, the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets are perhaps the star attraction for out-of-towners, but Stahl appreciates the town’s service organizations, family-owned farms, recreation, and landmarks.
“It’s a nice little suburban community. It’s very picturesque, very historic, and its school system draws a lot of people,’’ he said.
The year Wrentham was incorporated, but the town was abandoned and was largely burned down three years later during King Philip’s War.
The number of stores at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets
The number of apple varieties harvested at The Big Apple Farm, which also grows vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, and hops
The approximate number of feet along the western shoreline and dam of Lake Pearl that are open for walking and shore fishing
The historic downtown is attractive, with several small shops and places to grab a bite, and many town events and concerts are hosted on the common.
Traffic is persistent in certain areas, including Wrentham Center, Interstate 495, and Route 1, especially during games and concerts at Gillette Stadium in nearby Foxborough.
Rachel Lebeaux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.