About This Place
Devens, Massachusetts is an unincorporated village and census-designated place in the towns of Ayer and Shirley, in Middlesex County and Harvard in Worcester County in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It is the successor to Fort Devens, a military post that operated from 1917 to 1996. The area itself is named after jurist and Civil War general Charles Devens. The population was 1017 at the 2000 census.
The area operated as Fort Devens from 1917 to 1996. In that time, a formerly sleepy area was developed into a fort that was later redeveloped into the industrial area of Devens.
The U.S. Army post which resided at Fort Devens was officially closed in 1996 after 79 years of service. The process for land distribution for all parcels on the former Fort Devens allowed the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Shriver Job Corps, Massachusetts National Guard, Massachusetts Veterans and MassDevelopment to acquire the land. The bulk of the land was purchased by MassDevelopment for $17 million dollars. MassDevelopment is a semi-private development authority that has been given the task of turning Devens into a residential and business community. Since the closing of the military base, many of the existing buildings have been renovated or reconstructed; housing developments now exist, along with a growing business park, a new hotel, restaurants, a disc golf course, and a golf course. Veterans of the Army Security Agency have also expressed interest in building a museum there as Fort Devens was their principal training facility for nearly twenty-five years.