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Preservation Worcester Hosts Walking Tours

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Join Preservation Worcester for their series of historical walking tours that will teach you something new about the Heart of the Commonwealth. The local organization is dedicated to educating about the historical value in the city and preserving landmarks throughout Worcester.

This year's summer walking tour running through July and August will take participants through neighborhoods and parks that you might think you know. All four destinations on the tour hope to bring something unique to your view of Worcester’s history and architecture. Preservation Worcester wants to shake up your daily routine.

“I think people often follow their usual routines and don’t go down some of these streets and may not know of these neighborhoods,” said Susan Ceccacci, one of the organization’s educators who planned the tour.

Sunday, July 15, 2012, 2:00 PM
Lenox: “Where You Say ‘Good Morning’ to Good Neighbors”

The first stop on the tour will take you to a new neighborhood with a rich, changing history and beautiful architecture.

“There are four different sites we have chosen for the walking tour. The first, the Lenox Neighborhood – I picked partly because someone here had done extensive research on the area, revealing things previously not known,” Ceccacci said. “The area was largely developed by O’Connell real estate in early 20th century, which established many recognized neighborhoods and subdivisions during that time.”

“I thought that most people didn’t really didn’t know about the history of Lenox,” Ceccacci said. “Really no one has really ever done careful research. Lenox is a new area for research and lot of people have lived there and grown up there. I think it’ll be a surprise for people to learn how it developed from an 18th century farm, to a neighborhood on a trolley line.”

Meet at 2:00 PM at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Chamberlain Parkway

Based upon new historical research by tour guide and Preservation Worcester docent, Donald Chamberlayne, this tour will be of interest both to neighborhood residents and to others interested in local history and architecture.


Wednesday, July 18th, 5:30 PM
Elm Park: An Idyllic Respite from City Life

The second stop is familiar to many as one of Worcester’s most used parks and the oldest in the city. New changes are coming to Elm Park, and Preservation Worcester wants to reconnect you with everything the park was designed to be as it sees new renovations.

“It was Worcester’s first park designated specially and bought for park land, as oppose to the Worcester Common which is public open space,” Ceccacci said. “Elm Park was the first park designated as a park. There is work that is being planned now for upgrading the park and fixing, so I figured there is an interest for that reason as well and its idyllic setting with the pond in the park and the bridges and so forth.”

Meet at 5:30 PM at the stone entrance gates to Elm Park on Russell Street



Postcard showing historic Worcester. Front Street.

Wednesday, July 25th, 5:30 PM
Williams Street: Home to Worcester Industrialists

The next area on the tour is Williams Street, which is right off of Russell Street, which runs by Elm Park. While you may have seen the street or traversed its sidewalks before, you may not know about the history therein. Enjoy a walk through this neighborhood of stylish houses built on the subdivided land of the former Agricultural Fairgrounds.

“Williams Street was developed just after the turn of the 20th century with some rather grand houses. The owners were often professional people who were industrialists, and the architecture represents a nice variety of style of that early 20th century period,” Ceccacci said. “We will also have a chance to go inside 80 Williams Street, the home of John Woodland Higgins who established the Higgins Armory Museum.”

The house, which has been private, until recently, is now owned by Becker College, making it possible to go inside without disturbing a family.

“They also have a garden behind the house, which has been maintained by Becker. There was one there historically, and the college has continued to maintain it,” she added.

Meet at 5:30 PM at the corner of William and Russell streets.

Wednesday, August 1st, 5:30 PM
Institute Park: Green Space for a Fast Growing City

Bringing up the last spot in Preservation Worcester’s walking tour is another well-known park.

“Institute Park is also a widely used park and in recent years there has been a deal of work done by the city and by WPI on the park, and I think people will be interested partly having seen the new construction of the shell there,” Ceccacci said.

The park was donated by Stephen Salisbury III who was a part of an important Worcester family, and they donated land for Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Salisbury Farm.

“Institute Park was part of the farm, and in the 1880s, Stephen began to subdivide the farm which had been in his family for three generations,” she said. “Part of what he did was make a park. The park has an interesting history as far as recent use and the way it is designed.”

Meet at 5:30 PM at the Columned entrance of Institute Park on Salisbury Street.

Tours are one-hour guided walks. Tour size is limited. Reservations are suggested, but not required. Free for Preservation Worcester members. $5 per person for non-members
To reserve, call 508-754-8760.


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