Medway was first settled in 1657 and was officially incorporated in 1713. At that time, Medway began as a farming community of two hundred thirty-three. It was not long before the water power of the Charles River and Chicken Brook stimulated the formation of cotton and paper mills, straw and boot factories, and a variety of cottage industries. Medway demonstrates the central importance of the Charles River and the thriving town that grew alongside it. Today, the one-room schoolhouses are gone and the country stores have moved to the mall, but the open town meetings continue and Medway retains its small-town flavor.
The most logical explanation for the name Medway is that it was the midpoint between Boston and Providence.
At its founding, and for 170 years afterward, the town of Medway included the land that is now Millis. Eventually, the eastern section of the town, known as East Medway, separated in 1885 to form the town of Millis and Medway assumed the shape it has today. The main cause for the independent formation of Millis from Medway was the physical separation caused by a massive tract of undevelopable land appropriately named in those times, the Great Black Swamp.
With the advent of the interstate highway system in modern times, the appeal of Medway has been its "ideal" location roughly equidistant to Boston, Worcester, and Providence, the three most populous cities in New England. This locational advantage has led some community members to speculate that the real meaning of Medway is "mid-way," meaning mid way between the large cities of New England.
Currently, there are four schools actively enrolling students in the Medway Public School system. The Burke-Memorial school provides pre-K, Kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade education, the McGovern school also educates 1st and second grades students, Medway Middle School educates 5th–8th graders, and Medway High School. The High School is the newest of the four schools.
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