Nashoba Publishing Online, Posted: 04/27/2015 10:47:55 AM EDT
By: Anne O’Connor
TOWNSEND — Before there was housing for tens of thousands of soldiers, a firing range and substantial brick buildings, the land that Devens now occupies was largely agricultural. Some of it was just scrubland.
In 1917, the United States government leased 5,000 acres and started building rapidly. At one point, over 10 buildings per day were completed.
The addition of a city of 10,000 plopped down in the middle of rural Ayer, Harvard, Lancaster and Shirley was the subject of a talk given by Kara Fossey, executive director of the Fort Devens Museum. She presented “Close to home: Fort Devens and local towns in World War II” at a potluck dinner given by the Townsend Historical Society on April 17.