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Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Worcester (Massachusetts)

WORCESTER, a city of Massachusetts, one of the two county-seats of Worcester co. It is on the Boston and Albany, the New York, New Haven and Hartford, and the Boston and Maine railroads. A street railway system connects it with neighboring towns and communities. The city is situated in a valley which is surrounded by hills of moderate height. There is a park system of over 1,000 acres. The largest parks are Green Hill Park, 500 acres; Boynton Park, 113 acres; Lake Park, 110 acres; and Elm Park, 86 acres. The notable buildings include a city hall, art museum, public library, State armory, court house. State lunatic asylums, and many business buildings. There are five hospitals, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A. buildings. There were in 1919 about 30,000 pupils in the public schools, with nearly 1,000 teachers. The cost of maintaining the public schools is about $1,500,000 annually. The assessed property valuation in 1919 was $160,837,100. There was a tax rate of $21.20 per thousand. The net public debt was $6,463,148.

Worcester is an important manufacturing city. There were in 1914 272 manufacturing establishments owned by individuals, 225 by corporations, and 109 otherwise owned. The value of the product was over $80,000,000. The industries include the manufacture of wire, looms, emery wheels, elevators, fire arms, cars, boots and shoes, clothing, leather goods, etc. Worcester is the seat of Clark University, Clark College, Holy Cross College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester Academy, and many charitable institutions.

Worcester was founded in 1674, but the settlers were soon driven away by the Indians. A second attempt was made to found a settlement in 1684, but after a few years the Indians again forced the whites to withdraw. The place was permanently established in 1713. It was incorporated in 1822, and chartered as a city in 1848. Owing to its central location in the State, and in a rich agricultural region, it is known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth”. Pop. (1910) 145,986; (1920) 179,754.