Worcester (MA)

Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester is a city in the state of Massachusetts in the United States of America. A 2006 estimate put the population at 175,898, making it the estimated second-largest city in New England, after Boston. It is also the second-largest city in Massachusetts, and the county seat of Worcester County. The city marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Manchester (MA-RI-NH) U.S. Census Combined Statistical Area (CSA). Located in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth."


The Pakachoag tribe of the Nipmuc nation of Native Americans were the indigenous settlers of Quinsigamond, now known as Worcester. For the Pakachoag, Worcester's Lake Quinsigamond offered fine hunting and fishing grounds a short distance from their main village near a spring on Pakachoag Hill in what is now Auburn. Mt. Wachusett was their sacred place.

Worcester was first settled by the English in 1673, but the modest settlement of six or seven houses was burned to the ground during King Philip's War on December 2, 1675, and the English settlers were either killed or driven off. The town was subsequently resettled and was incorporated in 1684. On September 10 of that year, Daniel Gookin and others petitioned to have the town's name officially changed from "Quinsigamond" to "Worcester". However, its inhabitants were still vulnerable to attack, and some, such as Samuel Lenorson Jr., were taken hostage by natives during the 1690s. When Queen Anne's War started in 1702, the town was again abandoned by all of its English inhabitants except for Diggory Sargent. Sargent was later tomahawked, as was his wife, who was too weak to make the journey on foot to Canada. Their children were taken to Canada and survived.

In 1713 Worcester was re-settled for the third time, permanently, by Jonas Rice, whose farm was located atop Union Hill. Named after the historic city of Worcester, UK, Worcester [= War + cester camp] was incorporated as a town in 1722 and chartered as a city in 1848. When the government of Worcester County was established on April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as its shire town (later known as a county seat). From that date until the dissolution of the county government on July 1, 1998, it was the only county seat.

As political tensions rose in the months before the American Revolution, Worcester served as a center of revolutionary activity. Because it was an important munitions depot, Worcester was targeted for attack by Loyalist general Thomas Gage. However, officers sent secretly to inspect the munitions depot were discovered by Patriot Timothy Bigelow. General Gage then decided to move on to the second munitions depot, in Lexington. In 1775 determining that Boston was too dangerous, Isaiah Thomas moved his newspaper, the Massachusetts Spy, to Worcester. The Massachusetts Spy was one of the few papers published continuously during the Revolution. On July 14, 1776, Isaiah Thomas, intercepting the packet from Philadelphia to Boston, performed the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence ever in front of Worcester City Hall. In 1812, Thomas founded the American Antiquarian Society, a research library holding nearly two thirds of the items known to have been printed in America from 1639, through 1820. The Society's holdings from 1821 to 1876 compare favorably with those of the Library of Congress and other major research libraries.

In 1778, a scandal unfolded in Worcester: 32-year-old Bathsheba Spooner arranged the murder of her husband by three Revolutionary soldiers. The first woman executed in the new American republic, Spooner was hanged by a community that was fearful of civil disorder. Trapped in an abusive marriage, she declared on the scaffold that she "justly died; that she hoped to see her Christian friends she left behind her, in Heaven, but that none of them might go there in the ignominious manner that she did." Her father, Gen. Timothy Ruggles of Hardwick, arranged her unhappy marriage, and continues to be honored as a Revolutionary War hero.

Known for innovation in commerce, industry, education, and social thought, Worcester and the nearby Blackstone Valley claim their historic role as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Ichabod Washburn, an early industrialist, developed a process for extruding steel wire. His company, Washburn & Moen, founded in 1831, was "the company that 'barbed-wire fenced the American West,' and held the battle lines during the First World War. In 1840, Loring Coes invented the monkey wrench. In the 1850s, George Crompton and LJ & FB Knowles founded companies that manufactured the textile looms that fueled the Industrial Revolution. Another Worcester innovator, physician Russel Howes, invented the first envelope folding machine in 1856. His machine could produce 25,000 envelopes in ten hours, using three operators.

Women found economic opportunity in Worcester. An early female entrepreneur, Esther Howland, designed and manufactured the first American valentine cards in 1847. Women also found opportunity in The Royal Worcester Corset Factory, a company that provided employment opportunity for 1200 women; it was the largest employer of women in the United States in 1908.

An innovative form of affordable housing appeared in the 19th century: the three-decker. Hundreds of these houses were built, affording spacious, comfortable apartments for a homeowner and two tenants. Many extended families settled in these houses, developing strong, safe, and stable neighborhoods for the city's factory workers.

Several entrepreneurs brought growth to Worcester's economy during this period. John Jeppson, a skilled potter, emigrated from Hoganas, Sweden to Worcester in search of a better life. In Worcester he founded Norton Company, now Saint-Gobain, the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of performance engineered abrasives for technical manufacturing and commercial applications as well as general household and automotive refinishing. Jeppson created economic opportunity for the thousands of his countrymen who followed him to Worcester and for others, as well.

Another innovator was George Fuller, an inventor and philanthropist, who developed a heat-treating process crucial to developing steel strong enough to be used in train couplings and the first automobile crankshafts. His company, Wyman-Gordon, has been a leading manufacturer of machine parts.

Charles Palmer, another innovator, received the first patent (1891) for a lunch wagon, or diner. He built his "fancy night cafes" and "night lunch wagons" in the Worcester area until 1901. After building a lunch wagon for himself in 1888, Thomas Buckley decided to manufacture lunch wagons in Worcester. Buckley was very successful and became known for his "White House Cafe" wagons. In 1906 Philip Duprey and Irving Stoddard established the Worcester Lunch Car Company, which shipped 'diners' all over the Eastern Seaboard.

They were joined in early automobile manufacture by American Wheelock, which built compressed air-powered trucks at Worcester in 1904.

Many Irish immigrants settled in Worcester during this period, as well. They helped build the railroad and the Blackstone Canal, further driving Worcester's economic engine.

On September 21, 1938, the city was hit by the brutal New England Hurricane of 1938. Fifteen years later, Worcester was hit by a tornado that killed 94 people. The deadliest tornado in New England history, it damaged a large part of the city and surrounding towns. It struck Assumption Preparatory School, now the site of Quinsigamond Community College.

In December 1999, the Worcester Cold Storage Fire received national attention. Two homeless people, deemed mentally disabled, accidentally knocked over a lit candle in an abandoned cold storage warehouse, igniting a conflagration. Six firefighters lost their lives in an attempt to rescue the homeless people. Less than two years before the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, this fire was one of the worst firefighting tragedies of the late 20th-century. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and other local and national dignitaries attended services and a memorial program.


"Worcester" is correctly pronounced with two syllables, not three (ˈwʊstər). However, some varieties of the local dialect pronounce "Worcester" roughly to rhyme with "mister" or occasionally, 'wɨstə, since the English of some people in Worcester is non-rhotic. Occasionally, the city's name is misspelled and mispronouned as "Worchester".


Worcester is located at (42.268843, -71.803774). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.6 square miles (99.9 km²), of which, 37.6 square miles (97.3 km²) of it is land and 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²) of it (2.59%) is water. Worcester is bordered by the towns of Auburn, Grafton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Paxton, Shrewsbury, and West Boylston.

The Blackstone River passes through Worcester. Its headwaters are found in Institute Park. The river courses underground through the center of the city, and emerges at the foot of College Hill, flowing through Quinsigamond Village and into Millbury. Water Street, originally the Blackstone Canal, is emerging as the center of the " Canal District" Legend has it that the city sits atop seven hills: Airport Hill, Bancroft Hill, Belmont Hill (Bell Hill), Grafton Hill, Green Hill, Pakachoag Hill and Vernon Hill. Actually, there are more than seven hills. Worcester's lakes include:Lake Quinsigamond, the site of rowing competitions, Indian Lake, Bell Pond, and Coes Pond.

Worcester counts within its borders over 1,200 acres (5 km²) of publicly owned property. Elm Park, purchased in 1854 and laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, was not only the first public park in the city (after the 8 acre (32,000 m²) City Common from 1669) but also one of the first public parks in the U.S. Both the City Common and Elm Park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1903 the Green family donated the 549 acres (2.2 km²) of Green Hill area land to the city, making Green Hill Park the largest in the city. Other parks include: Newton Hill, East Park, Morgan Park, Shore Park, Crompton Park, and University Park.

In June 2002, city and state leaders dedicated the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Green Hill Park grounds.


Successive waves of immigrants have in the past formed coherent ethnic enclaves, some of which continue to contribute to the rich ethnic texture of Worcester today. Swedes settled in Quinsigamond Village and Greendale, Italians settled along Shrewsbury Street, Irish and Polish settled around Kelly Square, Lithuanians settled on Vernon Hill, and Jews built their first synagogue on Grafton Hill. The African-American community has existed since colonial times. Since the late 1800s, Grafton Hill and Vernon Hill have been points of entry for immigrants from all over the world: Irish, Italians, Lithuanians, Poles, Syrians, Lebanese, Puerto Ricans, French Canadians, and more recently, Albanians and Brazilians. Other prominent groups include Russians, Armenians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Liberians, and Congolese. Each successive group has been helped to integrate into the city's life by settlement houses such as Friendly House, a community-based, human services organization that traces its roots to the settlement house movement of the late 19th century.

As of the census of 2000, there were 172,648 people, 67,028 households, and 39,211 families residing in the city, making it the second largest city by population in New England, behind Boston. The population density was 4,596.5 people per square mile (1,774.8/km²). There were 70,723 housing units at an average density of 1,882.9/sq mi (727.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.11% White, 6.89% African American, 0.45% Native American, 4.87% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 7.24% from other races, and 3.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.15% of the population. The top 5 largest ancestries include: Irish (19.0%), Italian (11.6%), French (10.3%), English (6.2%), and Polish (6.1%)

There were 67,028 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.11.

The population is spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median household income is $35,623, and the median family income is $42,988. Males had a median income of $36,190 versus $28,522 for females. The per capita income is $18,614. About 14.1% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.6% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over. Of the city's population over 25, 76.7% are high school graduates and 23.3% have a bachelor's degree.


Worcester's continental climate is typical of the New England region. The weather changes rapidly owing to the confluence of warm, humid air from the southwest; cool, dry air from the north; and the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Summers are typically warm and humid, while winters are cold, windy and snowy. New Englanders expect snow as early as October (rarely), and as late as May. The USDA classifies the city as hardiness zone 5.

The hottest month is July, with an average high of 79 °F (26 °C) and a low of 61 °F (16 °C). The coldest month is January, with an average high of 32 °F (0 °C) and a low of 16 °F (-8 °C). Periods exceeding in summer and below in winter are not uncommon, but rarely prolonged. The all-time record high temperature is 102 °F (38.8 °C), recorded on July 4, 1911. The all-time record low temperature is -24 °F (-31.1 °C), recorded on February 16, 1943.

The city averages 47.3 in (1,200 mm) of precipitation a year, including averaging 68 in (172 cm) of snowfall a season, receiving more snow than coastal locations less than 40 miles (64 km) away. Massachusetts' geographic location's jutting out into the North Atlantic also make the city very prone to Nor'easter weather systems that can dump more than 20 in (50 cm) of snow on the region in one storm event.


Worcester is governed by a Council-manager government with a popularly elected mayor. A city council acts as the legislative body, and the council-appointed manager handles the traditional day-to-day chief executive functions.

City councilors can run as either a representative of a city district or as an at-large candidate. The winning at-large candidate who receives the greatest number of votes for mayor becomes the mayor (at large councilor candidates must ask to be removed from the ballot for mayor if they do not want to be listed on the mayoral ballot). As a result, voters must vote for their mayoral candidate twice, once as an at large councilor, and once as the mayor. The mayor has no more authority than other city councilors, but is the ceremonial head of the city and chair of the city council. Currently, there are 11 councilors: 6 at-large and 5 district.

Worcester's first charter, which went into effect in 1848, established a Mayor/Bicameral form of government. Together, the two chambers — the 11-member Board of Aldermen and the 30-member Common Council — were vested with complete legislative powers. The mayor handled all administrative departments, though appointments to those departments had to be approved by the two-chamber City Council.

Seeking to replace the old outdated charter, Worcester voters in November 1947 approved of a change to Plan E municipal government. In effect from January 1949 until November 1985, this charter (as outlined in chapter 43 of the Massachusetts General Laws) established City Council/City Manager government. This type of governance, with modifications, has survived to the present day.

Initially, Plan E government in Worcester was organized as a 9-member council (all at-large), a ceremonial mayor elected from the council by the councilors, and a council-appointed city manager. The manager oversees the daily administration of the city, makes all appointments to city offices, and can be removed at any time by a majority vote of the Council. The mayor chairs the city council and the school committee, and does not have the power to veto any vote.

In 1983, Worcester voters again decided to change the city charter. This "Home Rule" charter (named for the method of adoption of the charter) is similar to Plan E, the major changes being to the structure of the council and the election of the mayor. The 9-member Council became 11, 6 At-Large and 1 from each city district. The mayor is chosen by popular election, but must run as an At-Large Councilor.


Worcester's social progressivism includes a number of temperance and abolitionist movements.

The city is a leader in the women's suffrage movement: The first national convention advocating women's rights was held in Worcester, October 23-24, 1850.

The American Red Cross was established on May 21, 1881 by Worcester County native Clara Barton, the first president of the organization.

Two of the nation’s most radical (and often despised) abolitionists, Abby Kelley Foster and her husband Stephen S. Foster, adopted Worcester as their home, as did Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the editor of The Atlantic Monthly and Emily Dickinson's avuncular correspondent, and Unitarian minister Rev. Edward Everett Hale.

The area was already home to Lucy Stone, Eli Thayer, and Samuel May, Jr. They were joined in their political activities by networks of related Quaker families such as the Earles and the Chases, whose organizing efforts were crucial to the anti-slavery cause in central Massachusetts and throughout New England.

Anarchist Emma Goldman and two others opened an ice cream shop in 1892. "It was spring and not yet warm," Goldman later wrote, "but the coffee I brewed, our sandwiches, and dainty dishes were beginning to be appreciated. Within a short time we were able to invest in a soda-water fountain and some lovely coloured dishes."

On October 19, 1924, the largest gathering of the Ku Klux Klan ever held in New England took place at the Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester. Klansmen in sheets and hoods, new Knights awaiting a mass induction ceremony, and supporters swelled the crowd to 15,000. The KKK had hired more than 400 "husky guards," but when the rally ended around midnight, a riot broke out. Klansmen's cars were stoned, burned, and windows smashed. KKK members were pulled from their cars and beaten. Klansmen called for police protection, but the situation raged out of control for most of the night. The violence after the "Klanvocation" had the desired effect: Membership fell off, and no further public Klan meetings were held in Worcester.

Sixties radical Abbie Hoffman was born in Worcester in 1936 and spent more than half of his life there. Until he was 30, Worcester was the center of his universe; when he moved to New York in 1966, Worcester remained a haven. Even during his years as a fugitive, he would slip back into town and gather with old friends at his favorite restaurant, El Morocco. Biographer and friend Jonah Raskin explains that "Worcester provided him with his view of society and his way of dealing with the world."

Robert Waring Stoddard, former CEO of Wyman Gordon Corporation and publisher of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, was a prominent member of the John Birch Society.


Historically, Worcester's economic roots were tied to the Blackstone River. Textiles, shoes, and finished clothing were some of the first industries in the city. A second wave of manufacturing facilities soon came on the scene to further develop Worcester into a manufacturing center. Wire and machinery were the strengths of this economic cycle.

In the 1930s a local merchant, Anthony "Spag" Borgatti, opened Spag's, a small hardware business. Credited with the invention of discount marketing, he stored his wares in old trailer trucks in order to avoid paying taxes. He was a local philanthropist. Every spring, Spag offered free tomato seedlings to his customers.

Today, Worcester has a diversified economy. The largest employer is the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The adjacent biotech park is host to many innovative companies, including Advanced Cell Technology, which focuses on the development of effective methods to generate replacement cells from stem cells, and Abbott Laboratories, a leading pharmaceutical research and manufacturing firm.

Morgan Construction, a manufacturer of steel rolling mills, has their headquarters in Worcester. Wright Line, a manufacturer of consoles and other workstations for 911/emergency operations centers, server enclosures and racks for data centers, office and computer lab furniture, is also headquartered in the city. Saint-Gobain has a substantial presence in Worcester following its 1993 purchase of the Norton Abrasives, a 100+ year old manufacturer of abrasives, ceramics, and specialty materials. Polar Beverages is also located in the city.

In the financial sector, Hanover Insurance maintains their national headquarters in the city. A subsidiary of Unum (formerly UnumProvident), the Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, is also headquartered in Worcester as is the Harleysville Worcester Insurance Company, the oldest insurance company based in Massachusetts.

David Clark Company pioneered aeronautical protective equipment since 1941, ranging from anti-gravity suits to space suits. Innovations include full-pressure suits for X-15 test pilots flying to record speeds and altitudes and the spacesuit worn by all Apollo astronauts on lunar missions. The company produces suit worn by modern space shuttle astronauts.

The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology located in nearby Shrewsbury is best known for the development of the oral contraceptive pill (1951) and for pioneering research on in vitro fertilization. The first American conceived by this method (1981), Elizabeth Jordan Carr, lived in nearby Westminster.


Primary and secondary education

Worcester's Public Schools educate of more than 23,000 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The system consists of 33 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 7 high schools, and 13 other learning centers such as magnet schools, alternative schools, and special education schools. The city's public school system also administers an adult education component called "Night Life", and operates a cable accessible television station, Channel 11.

Twenty-one private and parochial schools are also found throughout Worcester, including the city's oldest educational institution, Worcester Academy, founded in 1834, and Bancroft School, founded in 1900.

Higher education

Worcester is home to 11 colleges and universities:

An early education institution, the Oread Institute, closed in 1934.

Many of these institutions participate in the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. This independent non-profit collegiate association operates and facilitates cooperation among the colleges and universities. One example is its inter-college shuttle bus and student cross registration. The consortium includes all academic institutions in Worcester County, whether within or outside the city boundaries.



Worcester is home to several noteworthy libraries and museums, including:

Performing Art

Performing arts centers and arenas are abundant in the city. They include,

Notable Events

These are many events that occur yearly in Worcester. Some of the more notable ones includeg

  • The Worcester Music Festival is the oldest music festival in the United States. This festival is presented by Music Worcester, Inc., which also presents the Mass Jazz Festival.
  • stART on the Street is a large street art festival". This is hosted by Arts Worcester.Arts Worcester also provides open studio tours, literary, performing and visual arts lectures, workshops, exhibitions, concerts, and events, as well as owning the only professionally managed non-profit membership gallery in Central Massachusetts; The Aurora Gallery.
  • The New England Summer Nationals is a large car show that brings together thousands of vehicles and many more thousands of automotive enthusiasts from across the country to Worcester. This event takes place annually around the 4 July holiday.
  • Worcester First Night is the name of the city's New Years Eve celebration.

Popular Music

In September 1981, the Rolling Stones played an unscheduled performance at local nightclub, Sir Morgan's Cove, (now The Lucky Dog) before embarking on their national tour that year. Billed as "Blue Monday with The Cockroaches", the Stones played before a packed house of 350 people who had been given tickets in a promotion by WAAF Radio that day.

"Wormtown," a nickname for Worcester that first appeared about 1977, originally referred to an underground musical subculture, but later became used by a few to refer to the city itself.


The Worcester County Poetry Association fosters the poetic tradition by sponsoring readings by national and local poets, celebrating Bloomsday, and holding conferences and literary tours of Worcester. Local poets have competed successfully in the National Poetry Slam.

The Worcester Center for Crafts, founded in 1856 as the Worcester Employment Society, provices professional-level craft studies to the Worcester community. The Craft Center's original purpose was to foster economic empowerment by teaching immigrants the skills needed to create and sell crafts. Today, The Worcester Center for Crafts offers craft education in weaving, metalwork, woodwork, enameling, jewelry-making, and other crafts, and seeks to promote an appreciation for fine craft.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Worcester Tornadoes Can-Am, Baseball Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field 2005 1
Worcester Sharks AHL, Ice hockey DCU Center 2006 0
New England Surge CIFL, Indoor Football DCU Center 2007 0
Worcester County Wildcats NEFL, Football Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium 2004 0

Lake Quinsigamond is home to the Eastern Sprints, a premier rowing event in the the United States. Competitive rowing teams first came to Lake Quinsigamond in 1857. Finding the long, narrow lake ideal for such crew meets, avid rowers established boating clubs on the lake's shores, the first being the Quinsigamond Boating Club. More boating clubs and races followed, and soon many colleges (local, national, and international) held regattas, such as the Eastern Sprints, on the lake. Beginning in 1895, local high schools held crew races on the lake. In 1952, the lake played host to the National Olympic rowing trials.

The Worcester Tennis Club on Sever Street is the second oldest tennis club in New England. It features natural red clay courts.

Worcester has a long storied past with sports teams and sporting events.

Marshall Walter ("Major") Taylor (November 26, 1878–June 21, 1932) was an American cyclist who won the world one-mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899, 1900, and 1901. Taylor was the second black world champion in any sport, after boxer George Dixon.

The Worcester Ruby Legs, an early Major League Baseball team, was one of the first teams to play in the nascent National League. This team, which operated from 1880 to 1882, is believed to be the only major league team in history not to have an attached nickname. (There are some references throughout major league history books to the team being called the "Worcester Brown Stockings", "Brownies", and "Ruby Legs". However, the Worcester Telegram sportswriter Bill Ballou, in conducting thorough research on the team for years, has found no contemporary reference to any of those nicknames.) The team's home field, the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds was the site of the first recorded perfect game in professional baseball. Pitcher John Lee Richmond achieved this feat on June 12, 1880, against the Cleveland Blues. Other professional teams that have moved on from the city include the New England Blazers, a Major League Lacrosse team that played at the Worcester Centrum during the 1980s, the Bay State Bombardiers of the Continental Basketball Association, who played in the Worcester Auditorium from 1984 to 1986, and the Worcester Ice Cats, an American Hockey League franchise and developmental team for the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues who played in the DCU Center (originally Worcester Centrum) from 1994 to 2005.

Currently, Worcester is home to three professional sports franchises. The Worcester Sharks play in the American Hockey League, a developmental team for the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks. The season 2006-2007 was the team's inaugural season. The team replaced the Worcester IceCats when the franchise moved to Peoria, Illinois, in 2005.

Professional baseball in Worcester is represented by the Worcester Tornadoes baseball team, which played its first season in 2005. Though not affiliated with any Major League Baseball team, the Tornadoes currently play their games at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross and are a member of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball League. The team finished its inaugural season by winning the Can-Am championship. The team name was chosen from among 1000 entries in a two-month-long naming contest. The "Tornadoes" refers to the deadly tornado that struck Worcester and central Massachusetts in 1953.

Indoor football returned to the city in April 2007. The New England Surge, a member of the Continental Indoor Football League, play their home games in the DCU Center. The team replaced an Arena Football League team called the Massachusetts Marauders which played briefly in 1994.

In 2002, Worcester's Jesse Burkett Little League baseball team competed in the Little League World Series's U.S. Final. Though the Burkett team lost to the Little League All-Stars from Louisville, Kentucky, its second-place finish was the best in the history of Massachusetts Little League baseball.

Worcester's colleges have had long histories and many notable achievements in collegiate sports:

  • The Holy Cross Crusaders, led by future basketball hall-of-famers Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn, were NCAA men's basketball champions in 1947 and NIT men's basketball champions in 1954.
  • The Holy Cross Crusaders football team played in the 1946 Orange Bowl, losing 13-6 to Miami (FL).
  • Holy Cross won the 1952 NCAA College World Series, beating the University of Missouri 8-4. To date, the 1952 Crusaders remain the only college team from the Northeast to win the College World Series.
  • In one of the biggest upsets in NCAA hockey history, the Holy Cross men's hockey team made history by defeating the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Division I Tournament by the score of 4-3 in overtime.
  • Holy Cross's Gordie Lockbaum is widely acknowledged as the last major college football program player to regularly play both offense and defense. Lockbaum finished third in the 1987 Heisman Trophy balloting, after finishing fifth in 1986. Lockbaum's son, Gordon Lockbaum Jr., was a star player on the 2002 Worcester Little League World Series team (See above).
  • The Assumption College Greyhounds lay claim to being the only college baseball team to ever have two future baseball hall-of-famers (Jesse Burkett and Rube Marquard) on its staff at the same time (1931-32).
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute's "WPI Engineers" football has had three undefeated, untied seasons (1938, 1954 and 1983) and two Freedom Football Conference (FFC) Championships (1992 and 1993).
  • The 1965-66 WPI Engineers basketball team was defeated by Army 71-62 on December 8, 1965. The win marked the first career coaching victory for a young coach named Bobby Knight.
  • WPI football has the distinction of being Worcester's first college football team, debuting in 1888 with back-to-back losses to Harvard of 70-0 and 68-0
  • The Clark University Cougars earned 10 consecutive NCAA Division III tournament berths, including two finishes as national runner-up in 1984 and 1987.
  • Clark's women's basketball team earned back-to-back NCAA Division III Final Four appearances and were NCAA Northeast Champions in 1982 and 1983.
  • The Worcester State College Women's Soccer team advanced to the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007, which was the most successful NCAA appearance of any team in Worcester State history. They beat the #5 ranked William Smith College by a score of 2-0 in the first round. After not receiving a national ranking all year, Worcester State ended the season at #21.

The Worcester Rugby Football Club (WRFC), a recognized member of the United States Rugby Football Union (USARFU), currently competes in the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) Division I league. The club was founded in 1979 by Rob Anderson, Peter Coz, and Mike Minty; joined NERFU in 1980, and was invited to join USARFU Division I league after a very successful 1999 fall season. WRFC is one of the top men's rugby clubs in the U.S., having reached the 2006 Men's Division 1 Club Final Four, before losing to eventual national champion Santa Monica in a close 20-13 match.

Golf's Ryder Cup's first official tournament was played at the Worcester Country Club in 1927. The course also hosted the U.S. Open in 1925, and the U.S. Women's Open in 1960. The Centrum (now DCU Center) was home to the Virginia Slims of New England women's tennis tournament for a few years in the late 1980s. Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf were some of the outstanding players who participated in the tournaments. Various boxing title bouts have been fought in Worcester. The NCAA National Division I hockey and Division I basketball early rounds have been contested here. Charlie's Surplus Road Race fielded many world-class runners before ending in the early 1990s. Candlepin bowling was invented in Worcester in 1880 by Justin White, an area bowling alley owner.



Worcester is served by several interstate highways. It more closely links to I-90 via a new Route 146 connector. Interstate 290, connects central Worcester to Interstate 495, I90 in nearby Auburn, and I-395. I-190 links Worcester to the twin cities of Fitchburg and Leominster of northern Worcester County.

Worcester is also served by several smaller Massachusetts state highways. Route 9 links the city to its eastern and western suburbs, Shrewsbury, and Leicester. Route 9 runs almost the entire length of the state, connecting Boston and Worcester with Pittsfield, near the New York State border. Route 12 was the primary route north to Leominster and Fitchburg until the completion of I-190. Route 12 also connected Worcester to Webster before I-395 was completed. It also still serves as an alternate route. Route 146, the Worcester-Providence Highway, connects the cities. Route 20 touches the southernmost tip of Worcester. It is a coast-to-coast route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and is the longest road in the United States.

Worcester is the western terminus the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Union Station, an early-20th century structure restored to full operation in 2000, serves as the hub for commuter railway traffic. It is also an Amtrak station, serving the Lake Shore Limited from Boston to Chicago, Illinois. Train passengers may also connect to additional services such as the Vermonter line in Springfield.

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority, or WRTA, manages the municipal bus system. Buses operate intracity as well as connect Worcester to surrounding central Massachusetts communities. The WRTA also operates a shuttle bus between member institutions of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. The Worcester Bus Station was recently relocated to Worcester Intermodal Center at Union Station. From here, Peter Pan Bus Lines (based in nearby Springfield) services other points in the Northeast.

The Worcester Regional Airport, managed by Massport for the city, lies at the top of Worcester's highest hill. On September 4, 2008, Direct Air announced they will begin serving Worcester to Orlando, Florida, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Punta Gorda, Florida in the Spring of 2009. Currently, they're the only commercial service serving the city. The low-cost carrier Skybus Airlines located there to service air travelers from Worcester, Springfield, and Hartford. Skybus Airlines ceased operations in April 2008 due to rising jet fuel costs and a slowing economic environment.

Healthcare and utilities

The Worcester State Lunatic Hospital (1833) was the first hospital in the United States established to treat mental illnesses.

Worcester is home to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, ranked fourth in primary care education among America’s 125 medical schools in the 2006 U.S. News & World Report annual guide "America’s Best Graduate Schools." The school also operates the UMass Memorial Health Care, the clinical arm of the teaching hospital, which has expanded its locations all over central Massachusetts. St. Vincent Hospital at Worcester City Hospital in the downtown area rounds out Worcester's primary care facilities. Fallon Clinic, presently the largest private multi-specialty group in central Massachusetts, includes St. Vincent's Hospital in its over 30 locations. Fallon Clinic was the creator of Fallon Community Health Plan, a now independent HMO based in Worcester, and one of the largest health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in the state.

Worcester has a municipally owned water supply. Sewage disposal services are provided by the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District, which services Worcester as well as some surrounding communities. National Grid USA is the exclusive distributor of electric power to the city, though due to deregulation, customers now have a choice of electric generation companies. Natural gas is distributed by NSTAR Gas; only commercial and industrial customers may choose an alternate natural gas supplier. Verizon, successor to New England Telephone, NYNEX, and Bell Atlantic, is the primary wired telephone service provider for the area. Phone service is also available from various national wireless companies. Cable television is available from Charter Communications, with Broadband Internet access also provided, while a variety of DSL providers and resellers are able to provide broadband Internet over Verizon-owned phone lines.

Notable residents

Sister cities

Worcester has the following sister cities:

See also


Further reading

External links

Search another word or see Worcester (MA)on Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature