Worcester, which has long been known as the ‘Heart of the Commonwealth’, developed a diverse industrial base during the last half of the nineteenth century. Diversity was a magnet for drawing immigrants from all parts of the world to work in the industries, resulting in the development of many ethnic neighborhoods. This immigration helped to fuel growth that saw the city leap from 58,291 in 1880 to 179,754 in 1920.
As Worcester became an industrial power its products reached people across the globe. The city moved to the national forefront in wire making and loom works and was home to the nation’s largest envelope factory. Worcester’s geographically central location was instrumental in the development of nearly 2,500 businesses employing 30,000
This industrial growth rapidly changed the cultural landscape. Schools, fire stations and three-decker homes popped up all over the city. Higher education, for which Worcester is now known, kept pace with colleges like Clark, WPI and Holy Cross as Worcester State University was built and expanded. During this time, streets near the city center, idyllic in their country setting, gave way to business blocks. Worcester’s rapid expansion came to a close in the years after the First World War.
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Frank J. Morrill is an active member of the local historical community. A retired History and Law teacher, he has co-authored Worcester 1880-1920 and Worcester in the Postcard Series with Eric J. Salomonsson and William O. Hultgren. Morrill also reproduces historically significant prints, from his archives, through his business Prints of the Past. Hannah E. Morrill is a 5th grade middle school student with an interest in History. She enjoys horseback riding, reading and piano playing. This is her first book collaboration.