Local Historic District Preliminary Study Reports

The Worcester Historical Commission, under MGL Chapter 40C, has voted to study the possible creation of a local historical district (LHD) for each of the following properties and neighborhoods.

The preliminary study is a formal process to gather information on the property or group of properties under consideration, engage in dialog with neighborhood residents, property owners and the public at large and develop a recommendation on the potential formation of a new local historic district for further consideration (or not) by City Council. After the Worcester Historical Commission makes a recommendation, the creation of any new local historic district is determined by a vote of the City Council following receipt of the Commission's final study report on the potential local historic district.

Ransom C. & Mary L. Taylor Estate - 36 Butler Street

Ransom C. Taylor Estate Facade as Seen from Street Level

The Ransom C. & Mary L. Taylor Estate is a historic house at 36 Butler Street. Built in 1858 as a country house for Ransom Clark Taylor and designed by Mechanic's Hall Architect Elbridge Boyden, it is one of the City's finest surviving examples of Italianate architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Liberty Farm - 116 Mower Street

Designated as one of only two National Historic Landmarks in Worcester in 1974, Liberty Farm, constructed in the Federal style about 1810, is significant for its association with abolitionist and women's rights advocate Abby Kelley Foster. She and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, lived on the farm from 1847 until 1881.

Liberty Farm Historic House Facade as Seen from Street Level

Robert Hutchings Goddard Birthplace - 1 Tallawanda Drive

Robert Hutchings Goddard Historic House Facade as Seen from Street Level

The Robert Hutchings Goddard Birthplace at One Tallawanda Drive was constructed about 1835, likely in a vernacular interpretation of the Greek Revival Style and was remodeled to its current appearance in the late 1920s. At the time of Goddard's birth in a second-floor bedroom of the house on October 5, 1882, the homestead was called Maple Hill.

Hammond Heights Neighborhood

On February 29, 2024, the Historical Commission decided to study this historic neighborhood, recognizing its architectural significance and contribution to the City's heritage. The Hammond Heights neighborhood, a well-preserved enclave of single-family homes, many of which were architect-designed, holds a significant place in Worcester's history. Developed during the late 19th to early 20th century, Hammond Heights is an historic neighborhood sited on a hillside site between Highland Street and Institute Road. Prior to 1890, the area was part of the John Hammond Farm, although plans for its subdivision had been laid out before 1886. The original subdivision plan created Germania (now Germain) Street, Buffalo (now Haviland) Street and Genesee (now Westland) Street. Construction in the area began in between 1890 and 1896, with sixteen houses built along Germain and Highland Streets. By 1911, an additional 40 houses had been built along Westland and Haviland Streets. Architecturally, the neighborhood showcases a range of styles popular during the middle and upper-middle-class suburbanization of Worcester's West Side. The eclectic mix of architectural styles seen in the houses in Hammond Heights reflect the diverse tastes of their original owners. Examples include the former home of John Hammond, an excellent example of the Italianate style and several exceptional Queen Anne-style residences along Germain Street. The well-preserved condition of most houses, coupled with tree-lined streets and expansive lawns, makes Hammond Heights a prime example of Worcester's development during the early 20th century.

Study Process

The studies will be conducted during 2024 by the Worcester Historical Commission, assisted by staff from the Planning & Regulatory Services Division. The study will include the following steps.

Assess Architectural and Historic Significance

The Committee will assess the architectural and historical significance of the general environs and the buildings within the proposed district.

Neighborhood Opinion Survey

To gauge community interest and support for the proposal, as well as inform potential components and governing rules, a neighborhood-wide opinion survey will be conducted.

Preliminary Study Report

The study findings will be documented in a Preliminary Study Report, which will be accepted by a vote of the Worcester Historical Commission, released for public review and submitted to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and Worcester Planning Board for comments.

Public Hearing

A public hearing regarding the proposed LHD, held by the Worcester Historical Commission, will take place no less than 60 days after the report is deemed complete by the MHC.

Committee Recommendation

Following the public hearing, the Worcester Historical Commission will make a recommendation for consideration by the City Council. The City Council will then determine whether to establish a new Local Historic District, its boundaries and its governing rules.

Additional Information

Additional information and opportunities to participate will be posted to this webpage as the studies progress. Community members wishing to share information about the properties under study are welcome and encouraged to contact our office.

Staff Contact:
Michelle Johnstone, Senior Preservation Planner
508-799-1400 x31440

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