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An Excerpt from Gazetteer of Massachusetts

Written by the Rev. Elias Nason, M.A., 1873

Worcester is an enterprising, industrial, mercantile, and progressive city and railroad centre, 44 miles south-west of Boston, 43 miles north-west of Providence, and 53 miles north-east of Springfield. From its social, political, and commercial influence, it is sometimes called "The Heart of the Commonwealth." By the Boston and Albany, the Providence and Worcester, the Norwich and Worcester, the Worcester and Nashua, and the Fitchburg and Worcester Railroads, and by telegraphic lines, it has ready communication with every section of the state and country; and to these facilities, together with its central situation and the intellectual vigor of its people, are mainly due the rapidity of its growth and prosperity.

The extent and magnificence of its new railroad-depot of hewn granite, now in process of construction, indicate the vast amount of travel and of freight concentring in the city.

The land is charmingly diversified by rounded hills and winding valleys, through which some of the sources of the Blackstone River (as Beaver Brook, Great Brook, Weasel Brook, and Kettle Brook) make their way, and furnish some motive power. The city comprises an area of about 36 square miles. The city contains 373 farms, 5,446 dwelling-houses, 13,055 voters, and 41,105 inhabitants. The number of acres of land taxed is 21.096; of acres in woodland, 2,692; of English mowing, 4,541; of apple-trees cultivated for their fruit, 36,754; of horses, 2,650; and of cows, 1,400. The valuation is $42,242,550; and the tax rate is $1.74 per $100.

The industries are remarkably varied and remunerative. The mechanics of Worcester are noted for their temperance, industry and skill; and, by their curious inventions and devices, the laws of science are reduced to practical uses in a wonderful variety of industrial and elegant arts. The city proper with its vast mechanical establishments, its handsome stores, and its commodious private and public buildings, occupies in part a beautiful valley, environed by hills and gentle elevations rising toward the east and west.

The city of Worcester makes liberal provision for the support of its 142 public schools, including one high school. The school appropriation for 1871 was $104,312. In addition to the common branches of education, music, drawing, and other ornamental studies, are pursued. The school-buildings are capacious and substantial, reflecting credit on the city. The citizens are noted for enterprise and public spirit; and, in their business-relations, and connected with every city in the State and Union. Indications of wealth, fresh undertakings, and advancement, are observable on every hand. The present population is estimated at 50,341. New streets and new buildings are constantly appearing.

It is said that the natives who inhabited Quinsigamond, now Worcester, were of the Nipmuck tribe. The principal settlement of these Indians was on a hill in the south part of the town, extending into Auburn, and called by them Pakachoag. Wigwam Hill, on the eastern shore of Quinsigamond, was probably a favorite residence on account of the fish and wild game in the vicinity. In 1675 Pakachoag was visited by King Philip, who, by his artifices and threats, induced most of the Indians to take up arms against the whites.

The town was called Worcester from the ancient city of Worcester in England. The name is from the Saxon Wegera-ceaster, meaning a war castle. It is stated that in 1718 the town had 58 "humble dwelling houses. It was incorporated as a city Feb. 20, 1848.

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