Worcester, Massachusetts, the seat of Worcester County. It is the second largest city in the state and in New England. Worcester is on the Blackstone River in east-central Massachusetts, about 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston. On the city's eastern edge lies Lake Quinsigamond (an Indian word for "place of long fishes").
Worcester is one of the chief manufacturing cities in New England. Water power has been used since 1800. Products include primary metals, fabricated metals, machinery, leather and leather goods, and textiles and textile products. The Blackstone Canal, running from Worcester to Providence, Rhode Island, was opened in 1828.
Worcester is the home of Clark University, Assumption College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester State College, and the College of the Holy Cross (the oldest Roman Catholic college in New England; opened 1843).
Among the exhibits of the Worcester Art Museum are mosaic pavements from ancient Antioch, a collection of Japanese art, and a 12th-century Romanesque room. The American Antiquarian Society has a notable collection of early books, newspapers, and portraits. The John Woodman Higgins Armory is an art- and military-history museum. The Worcester Science Center includes Gage Planetarium and a science museum.
Worcester was founded as Quinsigamond in 1668 and abandoned in 1675 because of Indian warfare. It was resettled a few years later and named Worcester. It was abandoned again in 1702 after trouble with Indians. Permanent settlement began in 1713. The city was incorporated in 1848.
Noted Americans who lived in or near Worcester include George Bancroft, Clara Barton, Dorothea Lynde Dix, Edward Everett Hale, Lucius James Knowles, General Artemas Ward, and Eli Whitney.
Population: 172, 648.