During the 1800s and well into the 1900s, Raynham had several small cottage industries that included: a tack factory, a grist mill powered by a dam on Johnson’s pond, sawmills, a bleachery, a straw hat factory, and several shoe “manufactories”. Prior to the advent of the mechanization of the shoe industry, shoes were frequently made in small shops that were sometimes located adjacent to the owners’ homes. Raynham had several of these small shoe shops.
Although, Raynham did have these small industries, it was still very much a rural town with an agrarian base. Farming was important in Raynham, and at one point a census listed more animals than people. Several small farms in Raynham specialized in growing a variety of fruit: strawberries, peaches and apples. One farm in Raynham raised over 39 varieties of apples.
Today, almost all of the farm land has been developed for housing and business use. Raynham has grown from a town with no street signs and a trolley running through that connected it to the surrounding towns, to a community with a population of over 11,000. Raynham does retain some characteristics of its rural beginnings. It is one of the few towns left in Massachusetts with a private library.
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