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Leominster #35: Central MA’s Best Communities

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Nicknamed the Pioneer Plastics City, Leominster has played a significant role in the establishment and progress of the American plastic industry. Born out of the comb industry, Leominster's plastic industry began in 1868 when John Wesley Hyatt invented a material from cellulose nitrate that proved to be hard, durable and easy to shape.

The industry grew until its peak at the beginning of the 20th century, and was the city's largest employer. However, a change in women's style and the Great Depression slowed Leominster's thriving plastic industry, leading to changes in the city's workforce. Today, over 32 percent of Leominster's workforce is employed in the management and professional fields. 

Leominster ranking is pulled up by its #3 rank for restaurants and its #34 rank for arts and culture.  The city's safety ranking is close to the bottom, coming in at #70.  Its economic condition ranking is 57th, and its education ranking is 49th.  

Photo courtesy of Marc N. Belanger

Leominster by the numbers

Established: 1740
Population: 40,759
Median household income: $55,695
Median housing price: $163,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 35
Affordability ranking: 45
Education ranking: 49
Economic condition ranking: 57
Safety ranking: 70
Arts & Culture ranking: 34
Restaurant ranking: 3

History in a nutshell:

Although settled in 1653, the town was left virtually deserted by the 1670s after various bloody Native American battles--including King Philip's War. To settle conflicts and regain its population, the remaining inhabitants legally bought the land from the Nipmuc tribe, very rare for the time. Leominster eventually grew and was incorporated in 1740 as a small agrarian town. By 1915 the town was transformed once again by the Industrial Revolution, becoming the "Pioneer Plastics City" as a result of its booming plastics production.

Famous residents:  

John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), American nurseryman
Paul DiGiovanni, Member of band Boys Like Girls
Matthew Kelly, Member of Dropkick Murphys
Anthony Russo, NFL wide receiver
R.A. Salvatore, Author
Diego Fagundez, Professional soccer player for the New England Revolution

Famous residents source: Wikipedia
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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