Welcome to Worcester, Massachusetts
The second largest city in New England (after Boston), Worcester was settled by the English in 1673.The following year, settler Daniel Gookin obtained eight square miles of land from the Nipmuc Indian people for an English settlement. Abandoned by settlers during both King Philip’s War and Queen Anne’s War, Worcester was settled a third time in 1713 and finally incorporated as a town in in 1722. The city served as the county seat of Worcester County until county government was eliminated by the Commonwealth in 1998.
Around the turn of the 19th century, Worcester’s economy centered around manufacturing with factories creating textiles and clothing springing up along the Blackstone River. With the opening of the Blackstone Canal and the advent of the Worcester and Boston Railroad in the 1820’s and ‘30’s, Worcester hit its prime and was chartered as a city in 1848. Immigrants from all over Europe began to flood into the city’s now-famous triple-decker houses, looking to work in the city’s factories.
After a slump in the manufacturing industry led to an outflow of residents in the mid-20th century, the city turned its attention to urban renewal efforts. A recovering economy saw a boom in healthcare and biotechnology that continues today. Mill architecture of the Victorian era is still abundant in the city.
Worcester has received the All-American City Award five times.
Located in the heart of the Commonwealth, Worcester sits approximately 40 miles west of Boston and 50 miles east of Springfield, MA along Interstate 290. The city covers a little more than 36 square miles of land and is bordered by the following towns: Auburn, Millbury, Grafton, Shrewsbury, West Boylston, Holden, Leicester, and Paxton. The Blackstone River forms in the middle of Worcester at the confluence of Mill Brook and Middle River. Worcester’s two most notable lakes are Indian Lake and Lake Quinsigamond. located on its border with Shrewsbury. Worcester was built across many hills and its terrain features variations in elevation. Worcester’s main zip codes include: 01601–01610, 01612–01615, and 01653–01655.
The current population of Worcester stands at about 183,000; of those, nearly 39,000 are foreign-born.
In 2013, Worcester’s median household income was $45,011, with an average home value of $199,300. Unemployment rates in 2015 averaged about a percentage point higher than state-wide rates. Healthcare and education are the leading industries in Worcester, with nearly 40% of residents working in the two fields. More than 85% of residents hold high school degrees and nearly 30% possess a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Municipal Services and Utilities
The Worcester Police Department maintains 24-hour emergency and non-emergency contact lines. In addition to patrol, traffic, and investigative divisions, it also administers animal control, licensing, records, and partnerships with community 24-hour hotlines for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The city’s fire department maintains multiple stations, provides EMS services, and includes a hazmat team and scuba rescue specialists.
National Grid is the city’s main electricity provider, and Eversource is the main supplier of natural gas. Landline telephone services are provided by Verizon , while Spectrum is the city’s cable television franchise. Residents can also choose from a variety of wireless phone and satellite TV services.
Intra-city bus service is run by the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) , which runs bus routes throughout the city and surrounding towns. Its base of operations is the Transportation Hub next to Union Station. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates commuter train services between Worcester and Boston out of historic Union Station.
The Water /Sewer Operations Division is responsible for potable water conveyance and sewage sanitation for the city. The Division of Public Works and Parks collects trash in pay-per-throw bags weekly and also provides weekly curbside recycling collection for residents in possession of recycling bins, which can be purchased at the DPW&P Customer Service location on Worcester Street.
Other town services include its senior center , veterans’ services, a Youth Opportunities Division, a multi-branch public library system , a Neighborhood Development Division , and Public Works and Parks , which is responsible for traffic, playgrounds, parks, beaches, street trees, and cemeteries.
Worcester maintains a Council-manager system of government with an elected mayor. The city council, with a current roster of 11, handles legislative functions and its appointed manager administers chief executive functions.
Parks and Recreation
Worcester’s city parks have been an important part of city life since 1669, when land was first set aside for Worcester Common. Elm Park is one of the nation’s first public parks and features a playground, tennis and basketball courts, and historic bridges.
Other city parks include ball fields, ponds, and historic landmarks and memorials. The Division of Parks, Recreation, and Cemetery also maintains the 18-hole Green Hill golf course, Green Hill Park Farm and downtown’s Worcester Common Oval, which plays host to a summer concert series, a seasonal farmer’s market, and winter ice skating. Bancroft Tower , reminiscent of a feudal castle, stands in Salisbury Park.
Recreation Worcester provides free summer youth programs for ages 7 to 13 at various parks and playgrounds around the city.
Lake Quinsigamond State Park [http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-central/quinsigamond-…] features facilities for fishing, swimming, and sailing at Regatta Point. The lake is also home to a 2,000-meter rowing course and hosts sailing and rowing crew regattas each year.
Buffone Arena is an ice skating rink located in Worcester and managed by FMC Ice Sports. It offers public skating, lessons, and hockey and figure skating programs.
Escape Games Worcester is an interactive escape-the-room game in which participants follow a storyline to try to escape a locked room.
The six branches of the Worcester Public Library provide residents with an extensive multimedia collection. Library members can borrow devices such as e-Readers and telescopes, access digital archives and special collections, attend computer and business classes, join book clubs, and engage in children’s events.
Worcester is home to the Worcester Art Museum , The Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts , and the DCU Center. Worcester Historical Museum, located on Elm Street, houses a museum and library detailing the city’s rich history. Worcester is also home to the American Antiquarian Society, an independent research society that houses a vast collection of written materials dating up until 1876; in 2013, the Society was presented with the National Humanities Medal in a White House ceremony.
Music Worcester is professionally-curated community arts organization presenting chamber, symphony, jazz, and world music performances and opportunities for more than 150 years. The organization’s current incarnation reflects a merging of the Worcester Music Festival, the Massachusetts Jazz Festival, and the International Artists Series.
The Crompton Collective is a boutique market center housed in one of Worcester’s historic mill buildings. Artists and shopkeepers vend their handmade wares and antiques from booths in the building, which also hosts periodic special events.
Worcester boasts local chapters of civic groups such as Rotary International, the Lions Club, the Lodge of Elks, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the American Legion. Worcester is also home to chapters of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. Worcester’s nine colleges and universities also sponsor numerous clubs and groups available to students.
Worcester Restaurant Week affords residents the opportunity to sample menus from a variety of participating local and area restaurants for a set price for a limited period of time.
Town festivals and events include the Worcester Food Truck Festival in June, the Worcester Italian Festival in August, the Worcester Parade and Pride Festival and stART on the Street in September, the annual Festival of Lights in December, among many others. A full calendar of Worcester events can be found at http://www.worcestermass.org/arts-culture/cultural-calendar.
For more information on Worcester events and cultural attractions, visit http://www.worcestermass.org/arts-culture.
Worcester Public Schools administers public education for the city of Worcester.
Public elementary schools include:
Belmont Street Community School
Burncoat Street Preparatory School
Canterbury Street Magnet Computer-Based School
Chandler Elementary Community School
Chandler Magnet School
City View Discovery School
Clark Street Developmental Learning School
Columbus Park Preparatory Academy
Elm Park Community School
Flagg Street School
Francis J. McGrath Elementary School
Gates Lane School of International Studies
Goddard School of Science and Technology
Grafton Street School
Heard Street Discovery Academy
Jacob Hiatt Magnet School
Lake View School
Lincoln Street School
May Street School
Midland Street School
Nelson Place School
Norrback Avenue School
Rice Square School
Tatnuck Magnet School
Thorndyke Road School
Union Hill School
Vernon Hill School
Wawecus Road School
West Tatnuck School
Worcester Arts Magnet School
Public middle schools include:
Burncoat Middle School
Forest Grove Middle School
Dr. Arthur F. Sullivan Middle School
Worcester East Middle School
Public high schools include:
Burncoat High School
Doherty Memorial High School
North High School
South High Community School
University Park Campus School
Worcester Technical High School
Alternative schools and centers include:
ACT Program at Chandler Magnet School
Alternative School at St. Casimir’s
Dr. James A. Cardonio New Citizens Center
Gerald Creamer Center
Private schools include:
Children’s World Learning School (Pre-K)
Ebridge Montessori School (grades Pre-K-3)
Miss Tanya’s Woodland School (grade K)
Next Generation Children’s Center (Pre-K)
Westborough Knowledge Beginnings (Pre-K)
Charter schools include:
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School
Seven Hills Charter School
Spirit of Knowledge Charter School
In addition to available public education, many elementary and secondary private schools operate in Worcester, including:
G. Stanley Hall School
Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School
The Nativity School of Worcester
Notre Dame Academy
Our Lady of the Angels Memorial Elementary School
St. Mary’s Elementary School
St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School
St. Peter Central Catholic Elementary School
St. Peter-Marian Catholic Junior/Senior High School
St. Stephen Elementary School
Worcester Seventh Day Adventist School
Yeshiva Achei Tmimim Academy
Nine colleges and universities call Worcester home:
College of the Holy Cross
MCPHS (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services)
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Quinsigamond Community College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester State University
The YMCA has two branches in Worcester: the Central Community Branch and the Greendale Family Branch.
The town is home to an enormous variety of grocery stores. Large chain stores include Stop & Shop, Price Chopper, Shaw’s, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Big Y. Ethnic groceries include Mekong Market (Asian), Golemo’s Market (featuring Polish food), Bahnan (Syrian food), and Ha-Tien (Vietnamese specialties). There is a Walmart Supercenter with groceries and other home goods located off of Route 146.
Worcester embraces a thriving restaurant scene that continues to grow. Shrewsbury Street is home to a pantheon of restaurants ranging from bar-restaurants like Funky Murphy’s and Flying Rhino Cafe to high-end offerings like Worcester Restaurant Group’s Via and 111 Chop House.
Niche Hospitality Group oversees award-winning restaurants Boacdo Tapas Wine Bar, The Fix Burger Bar, Mezcal Tequila Cantina, and The Citizen Wine Bar.
Beer aficionados will appreciate brew-centric restaurants like Armsby Abbey and Wormtown Brewery. For sushi lovers, Baba Sushi is the place to go.
Newly-inducted into the Worcester restaurant milieu include Hangover Pub (calling all bacon lovers!) and Deadhorse Hill , both opening to rave reviews.
Worcester is king in the world of diner food. Breakfast food can’t be beat at Miss Worcester Diner and Boulevard Diner , both of which are are housed in old-fashioned dining cars.
Business and Industry
- Professional, Scientific & Technical
Worcester Fun Facts
From 1755 to 1758, future U.S. president John Adams worked as a schoolteacher in Worcester.
Worcester is the birthplace of candlepin bowling, invented in 1879 by Justin White.
In 1953, the deadliest tornado to ever hit Massachusetts tore through the city.
Worcester native Harvey Ball created the recognizable yellow smiley face icon.
Many residents of Worcester still live in its iconic triple-decker homes.
One of Worcester’s nicknames is Wormtown.
2002 saw Worcester’s Jesse Burkett Little League All-Star team make it to the U.S. final of the Little League World Series.
Worcester’s sister cities include Worcester, UK; Afula, Israel; Piraeus, Greece; and Pushkin, Russia.