Small Towns: Princeton


Emma Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief

Worcester County is certainly miraculous. Travel 20 minutes north from the smokestacks of Saint Gobain and miles of winding weathered sidewalk and you will drive right into the small town of Princeton. Actually, you may not even realize you are in Princeton in warmer seasons because leaves may cover the “Welcome to Princeton” sign, and other than the town hall, library and Wachusett Mountain, there are few defining landmarks. You will not find numerous chain restaurants (we like our Princeton House of Pizza, thank you very much) or business men and women striding into glass buildings. However, hidden among the acres upon acres of looming trees, Princeton is not the lifeless town it may seem to city dwellers.

First, there’s the legend of Lucy Keyes which every child knows by heart (even if they didn’t attend the local elementary school where the legend is taught). So, if you ever take a hike in Princeton and hear a mother’s call for her little lost Lucy, I’d suggest moving quite quickly in the opposite direction.

Over the years, other scandals have occurred. The women who jumped out the window after she died. The man who fed shellfish to his hogs and created a smell so horrible it permeated the whole town. The women who fed the crows. And I believe I have found the culprit for all these mysterious oddities – the wildlife.

Wild animals appear everywhere in Princeton. In my yard alone, we’ve had hedgehogs and moose and deer and bears and wolves and your classic squirrels, chipmunks, mice, birds, bats, ladybugs, etc. But those are just the ones I’ve seen. There could be more, secretly plotting in the shadowy woods, trees creaking and eyes blazing in the middle of the night.

And the domestics, they hardly seem disciplined despite the local training facilities (yes, Princeton does have puppy training and not a Pizza Hut). Dogs roam the streets. Cats yawn and scratch at barn doors. Emus have, at times, escaped and were caught, frantically running down the highway. Almost as if it was running from something…

If you open The Landmark, the local newspaper, on any week, the Fire and Police logs never disappoint. Just this week, there was a “[r]eport of [a] white llama on [the] side of Mountain Rd.” Probably another domestic running from the evil that lurks in Princeton’s woods.

So, the next time you’re driving through a seemingly lifeless town, reconsider a moment because you could be the next character in your classic small town scandal.

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