Known as Ipswich, Canada until incorporated in 1764, Winchendon’s proximity to the Millers River provided waterpower for the development of mills including those used to manufacture grain, wooden products and textiles. One wood product, shingles, was produced in such volume that Winchendon became known as "Shingletown."
A series of inventions by local residents enhanced mill operations including those of Morton Converse whose company manufactured wooden collar boxes and toys. So successful was Winchendon’s toy industry that it became known as “Toy Town,” a name that it retains to this day.
Along the path of the Millers River, in the western part of town, much of the land is marshy, with several brooks feeding into both the Millers River and the nearby Otter River. Two protected areas, the Birch Hill Wildlife Management Area and the Otter River State Forest, both have part of their lands within the town, as well as Winchendon State Forest.