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Worcester #1: Central MA’s Best Communities

Friday, June 29, 2012

 

Worcester 

Worcester, however you pronounce it, is #1.  A five-time recipient of the All-American City Award, Worcester offers its residents the resources and exciting attractions of a metropolis, balanced with the more intimate, livable scale of a mid-size city.  The city's colleges contribute to the city's nightlife, vibrant arts community and scientfic innovation.  From the Hanover Theatre to the Worcester Arts Museum to Mechanics Hall and the DCU Center, Worcester has cultural options for every taste.  

More than one-third of the city's jobs are in health care related fields, and UMass Medical School Craig Mello is a Nobel laureate.  WPI's Gateway Park is a growing center of research and commerce.  The city is thriving, and construction of the new City Square project is expected to revitalize the downtown area with a mix of residential and commercial spaces.  

Worcester ranks #1 in two categories: arts and culture and restaurants.  It is one of only two communities to claim the top spot in two categories - #2 Harvard is the other.  Worcester also claims the bottom rank in two categories: economic condition and safety.  

Worcester by the numbers

Established: 1722
Population: 181,045
Median household income: $45,036
Median housing price: $155,000

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 1
Affordability ranking: 68
Education ranking: 71
Economic condition ranking: 72
Safety ranking: 72
Arts & Culture ranking: 1
Restaurant ranking: 1

 

History in a nutshell:

Known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth," Worcester was settled in 1673 on Nipmunc land. The area was originally called Quinsigamond, which meant the "fishing place for pickerel." The early settlement was destroyed during the King Philip's War in 1675. The town was eventually resettled and incorporated in 1684. Worcester was again disrupted and abandoned in 1702 from another set of Native American attacks. The town was resettled 11 years later for the third and final time, and named after the city in England. It was incorporated in 1722 and chartered as a city in 1848. The city became known for its industry, particularly textiles. Worcester was home of the first envelope folding machine, invented by Russel Howes, and the first valentine cards, designed by Esther Howland. The town continued to thrive economically, especially from the growing immigrant population and railroad industry.
 

Famous residents:  

Albert Abraham Michelson, First American to receive Nobel Prize in Physics
Alivia Witt, Actress on Sopranos
Harvey Ball, Inventor of the smiley face
Alisan Porter Actress
Alva 'Al' Javery, Former MLB player
Andrea Ajemain, Actress
Anthony Molinari, Hollywood stuntman
Arthur Kennedy, Tony Award winner, Academy Award nominee
Bethany Veney, Pianist
Bill Guerin, US Olympic Hockey team member
Bob Cousy, Former Boston Celtics player
Cedric Ball, Former NBA player
Doug Standhope, Comedian
Zara Cully, Actress
 

Notable residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton

 

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