A Brief History of Worcester, MA
Worcester, MA has an interesting little history, like most of the colonial cities. It is older than the United States itself, and has had some fantastic moments and mystery.
Worcester, MA Indian Settlement and Abandonment
Worcester originally began as a Native American settlement under the name of Quinsigamond under the Nipmuc tribe. The tribe eventually signed over the settlement to the Englishmen Daniel Gookin in 1674 under a deed agreement. The Englishmen hoped to establish a Christian “Indian praying town”.
However, in 1675, King Philip’s War ravaged New England, including the little settlement of Quinsigamond. The English traders swiftly abandoned the settlement, and the Indian warriors burned what few buildings and structures existed in the new settlement.
Second and Third Attempts
The town was re-settled in the late 1600s, again as a spot for trade for the English. Yet again, it was abandoned in 1702 during the battles of Queen Anne’s War. Eventually, Jonas Rice permanently and successfully settled the town on the third attempt.
The settlement, believed to be named after Worcester, England, was finally incorporated as a town in the colonies in 1722. In 1731, the town became the center of Worcester County, MA.
Growing in Influence
Future president John Adams studied law and worked as a schoolteacher in this town from 1755 to 1758. However, the real influence of this city emerged during the Revolutionary War.
Worcesters Role in the Revolution
There was reportedly stockpiles of American ammunition located in this city, as reported to British General Thomas Gage in 1775. Furthermore, that same year, publicist Isaiah Thomas relocated his paper the Massachusetts Spy from Boston to Worcester, making it a foundation for news from the Revolution.
This newspaper, and the town, was so influential that the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in town on July 14, 1776.
Economic Growth in Worcester, MA
During the 1800s, the town became a center of manufacturing. Textiles were especially prevalent in this city, as factories began to locate themselves along the Blackstone River. When the Blackstone Canal opened in 1828, the manufacturing business really blossomed, and then after the opening of the Worcester and Boston Railroad in 1835.
The town became a hub for manufacturing and for transportation. The growth was so significant that the town finally became a city in February of 1848. The newly booming economy attracted immigrants from France, Ireland, and Sweden; later, the city would become known for its Armenian, Polish, Greek, Italian, and Lithuanian immigrant communities.
Post World War II
After the Second World War II, Worcester rapidly declined in business and population. There was a 20% decrease in population from 1950 to 1980, and the city suffered from the new trend of businesses moving overseas to save money. However, in the later parts of the 20th century, Worcester again experienced growth when it began its foray into biotechnology and medicine.
There are numerous institutions of higher learning with fantastic medical programs, and the two main hospitals of the city are the largest employers of the city.
Recovery and Regrowth
There is renewed interest in the city that is healing its past economic wounds. New centers and expansions downtown continue to attract construction and growth, and people are finally taking notice of this small MA city.
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