The history of Ayer Massachusetts dates back to 1667 when the first mill was built. Ayer was originally part of Groton and was incorporated as a town in 1871.
The town was named in honor of Dr. James Cook Ayer who provided the funding for the construction of Town Hall. Ayer's growth was greatly influenced by the development of the railroad for transportation during the mid 19th century.
Though it is a fairly small town in size of only 9.5 square miles, Ayer became a major junction for east-west and north-south rail lines thereby developing into an important commercial center.
Camp Devens was located in Ayer and was established in 1917 at the onset of World War I and renamed Fort Devens in 1932. With the presence of thousands of military and civilian personnel, the town's commercial development shifted to meeting their needs until Fort Devens was closed in 1996.
Ayer is a reflection of its history today. In its small area the town proudly hosts numerous industries, a thriving historical downtown that is unique to the region and modern commuter rail service to Boston.