Originally comprised of land granted to the officers and soldiers of a 1690 expedition to Canada, Ashburnham was first settled in 1736 and incorporated as a town in 1765. Once the second largest manufacturer of chairs in the world, Ashburnham is now home of the internationally recognized Cushing Academy, founded in 1875. Its extensive natural resource network includes both state and town forests with a third of its undeveloped land designated as open space.
Ashburnham has seven lakes, numerous ponds, two monadnocks—Mount Watatic and Little Watatic Mountain--a number of hills, and the convergence of two major New England hiking trails, the Mid-State and the Wapack. It is the source of the Souhegan River flowing north, the Millers River flowing west, the North Branch of the Nashua via the Phillips Brook flowing east and the Whitman River flowing south.
There are no interstates, limited-access highways, or stoplights within the town.