Downtown Ayer is all about the vitality and authenticity of "Place, Heritage & Social Gathering".
The origins of Downtown Ayer begin with the wondrous arrival of one of America's earliest railroads, the Fitchburg Railroad in 1845. The new and innovative village of South Groton or Groton Junction was literally built and formed around the great 1848 Passenger Rail Depot. Unlike most ancient New England townships which were built around a traditional "Town Common", it was the Railroad Depot and Depot Square that functioned as the community & civic focal point of the early village of South Groton/Groton Junction. By 1850, five major railroad lines converged at "The Great Junction" and the enterprising destiny of Downtown Ayer had begun. The Great Fire of 1872 consumed and destroyed almost every building in the old town center; the place we know today as Downtown Ayer emerged from the epic destruction of the Great Fire. The Town of Ayer was chartered in February 14, 1871 and the grand Gothic-Revival Ayer Town Hall was completed in 1876.
What Makes Downtown Ayer Welcoming Is:
- Downtown's size and scale is perfect at a friendly, comfortable and walkable three (3) blocks along Main Street;
- Main Street is a two-lane street which brings a great balance between our Downtown pedestrians and our Downtown motorists, the street does not prove a barrier between the north-side & south-side of Main Street for our valued pedestrians;
- Beautiful red-brick sidewalks with good safe connectivity ample room for everyone who enjoys "getting out of the car" and spending time walking around shopping, visiting and exploring Main Street and our downtown neighborhoods;
- Excellent on-street parking (with no parking meters) and off-street surface lot vehicle parking space and amenities;
- Provides the traveling and commuting public with the Downtown Ayer Passenger Rail Station connecting directly to Downtown Boston and points west to Downtown Fitchburg;
- Abounds in magnificent historic New England residential and commercial architecture and local heritage sites;
- The splendid Ayer Public Library is our community's "Cradle of Life-Long Learning", heritage preservation, and community cohesion;
- The southern anchor of the ever-popular and healthful Nashua River Rail Trail, connecting the Nashoba Valley at Ayer, MA with southern NH at Downtown Nashua;
- Home to a variety of local, family-owned businesses and gathering places, including traditional eateries, fine dining, friendly "watering-holes", specialty retail shops, mass retail establishments, personalized service businesses, professional offices, local gathering places, and emerging creative spaces;
- An ever-expanding and fun evening scene with great destinations for music, dining, drinks, spontaneous encounter, and nights of memorable meet-ups with friends;
- The place that holds the most value to our community as a "treasure-house" of history & authentic heritage, and also holds the greatest potential and promise for a sustainable, livable, walkable, enterprising, innovative and brilliant future for the Town of Ayer and the surrounding region.