Originally known as "Volunteers Town" for the colonist-soldiers who received land for service to the Crown, and then, Nichewaug, after the native American tribe inhabiting the area, Petersham received its present name at the caprice of the King's General Court. In petitioning for township status, the space for the name of the new town was left blank, and the court decided to name Petersham after a "good Old English town."

Petersham is more today a good old New England town, with its picturesque bandstand at the heart of its common, magnificent Greek Revival mansions, classic country store and two elegant bed-and-breakfasts. Little changed over the years, the tranquillity of Petersham and its harmony with nature suggest a special place worth seeking out. Only minutes south of Route 2 and bordering the Quabbin Reservoir, Petersham will treat visitors to the simple pleasures of a quieter way of life. Come experience it for yourselves.