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Devens is a regional enterprise zone 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 population was 1,840 at the 2010 census.
The area itself is named after jurist and Civil War general Charles Devens. In 2011, the CDP tried to secede from Ayer, Shirley, and Harvard and become the 352nd town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but failed the vote. Some residents are still looking to secede to become a town.
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. Federal Medical Center, Devens was established as a federal prison on the grounds of the former base.
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.