Williamstown was established in 1780 by Elijah Paine and was formally chartered one year later on August 9, 1781. The first settlers lived on West Hill, along present-day Stone Road. By the mid-1800s, development had shifted from the two hills into the valley, an area better suited for civic, religious, and commercial activities. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, craftsmen from Canada, Spain, Sweden, and Italy were drawn to the town by the promise of jobs at the granite quarries. The traditional building materials and forms reflect the town's evolution from an agrarian society to an industrialized community. The Williamstown Village Historic District was listed in the State Register of Historic Places in 1989.