Category Archives: Worcester

Worcester County Courthouse (1845)

Worcester County Courthouse

Early county courthouses in Worcester were built in 1733, 1751 and 1802. A granite courthouse with six columns, designed in the Greek Revival style by Ammi B. Young, was built between 1843 and 1845. An addition to the southwest corner of the building, designed in a Greek Revival/Victorian style by Stephen C. Earle, was made in 1878. In 1898-1899 a major expansion and remodeling of the building took place. The original courthouse portico was removed and a new facade created on Main Street which incorporated the original six columns and two new ones made to match the originals. The new facade, designed by Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul, features two pavilions (the one on the south is the original courthouse), with two columns each, flanking a central section with four columns. The Courthouse, located at 2 Main Street off Lincoln Square, is currently vacant.

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Walker-White House (1879)

Walker-White House, Worcester

The relatively early Queen Anne house at 47 Harvard Street in Worcester was designed by Stephen C. Earle. Its first resident was Benjamin Walker, a local ice merchant. With Stillman Sweester, Walker formed the company Walker & Sweester, which later became the Walker Coal and Ice Company. From 1881 into the twentieth century, the house was home to Walker’s daughter, Agnes, and her husband, Levis White. The house’s two-story porch and painted brick walls are later alterations.

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Clark Block, Worcester (1854)

Clark Block

The Clark Block, located at 401-409 Main Street in Worcester (not to be confused with the Clark Building at 492 Main Street, which does not survive today), was built in 1854 for William Clark to plans by Elbridge Boyden. For many years it remained one of the grandest buildings in the city, housing many institutions and businesses. In the 1850s, the adjacent Richmond and Piper Blocks were constructed. J.H. Walker acquired the Clark Block in 1884 and built an addition on the Mechanics Street side of the building. The Clark Block originally had a facade of thirteen bays along Main Street, but six of these (as well as the adjoining Richmond and Piper Blocks) have been covered over. The first two floors of the remaining bays have also been covered, leaving only part of the original facade visible.

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Salisbury House (1837)

Salisbury House, Worcester

At 61 Harvard Street in Worcester is the impressive Salisbury House, an unusual example of the Greek Revival style, built in 1835-1838 for Stephen Salisbury II by master builder Elias Carter. Stephen Salisbury II was a wealthy financier, civic leader and philanthropist. His son, Stephen Salisbury III, continued to live in the house after his father’s death in 1884. He was also a philanthropist and a founder of the Worcester Art Museum in 1896. When Stephen Salisbury III died in 1905, he left the house to the Museum, which used it for the Art Museum School until 1939. Two years later it was sold to the Worcester American Red Cross which uses the building as its headquarters. When Harvard Street was widened in 1931, the house was moved a few feet northwest of its original site.

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Former Our Lady of Fatima Church, Worcester (1911)

43 Belmont Street, Worcester

The church at 43 Belmont Street in Worcester was built in 1908-1911. Designed by Fuller and Delano, it was the second building used by the First Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation that was established in 1881. The congregation merged with two other parishes to form the new Trinity Lutheran Church in 1948 and moved to a new church on Lancaster Street in 1951. The church Belmont Street was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and became Our Lady of Fatima Church. Over the years the building suffered damage from vibrations from the nearby Interstate 290. Major repairs were made in 1999 and the bell tower at the southeast corner of the church was also removed. The parish served area Catholics until 2009, when the church was closed. It was merged with St. Bernard’s Church to form Our Lady of Providence Parish. The vacant church was in danger of being demolished, but in 2012 the Diocese sold the building to the Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts, which had previously been worshiping in a former A.M.E. Zion Church at 21 Belmont Street. The Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts also has a church in Southborough, where it was founded in the 1980s.

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Posted in Churches, Gothic, Worcester | Tagged , | 1 Comment

E. N. Childs House (1868)

E. N. Childs House

The E. N. Childs House is a French Second Empire-style house at 54 West Street in Worcester. It was constructed circa 1868. Childs was a boot manufacturer. As related in Charles G. Washburn’s Industrial Worcester (1917):

In 1853 E. N. Childs came to Worcester from Millbury, and engaged in business with Albert Gould for one year. In 1854 Albert S. Brown became a partner. They did business as Childs & Brown until 1857, when Mr. Brown retired, and A. G. Walker was admitted under the firm of E. N. Childs & Co. In 1862 Mr. Walker retired and Mr. Childs continued under the same firm name until 1881. During the preceding few years his sons were interested with him in the business.

The house is now owned by Becker College. In the past it was a dormitory, but now it houses the Maintenance offices.

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Mechanics Hall (1857)

Mechanics Hall

One of Worcester’s most iconic buildings is Mechanics Hall. It was built in 1857 to house educational and cultural activities by the Worcester County Mechanics Association. This organization was formed in 1842 to promote the mechanical arts and to provide education and training for industrial workers. Mechanics Hall featured meeting rooms, a library, and two halls. The building was designed by Elbridge Boyden, a Worcester architect. By the mid-twentieth century, other organizations had taken up the role once played by the Mechanics Association and other auditoriums had found favor with the public. To raise revenue, Mechanics Hall was rented out for sporting events and for a time was even a roller skating rink. The old building was no longer the cultural center it had once been and was in danger of demolition. Citizens rallied to save Mechanics Hall, which was restored and reopened in 1977. Today, the Mechanics Association‘s primary mission is to maintain Mechanics Hall, which is considered to be the finest pre-Civil War concert hall in the country and one of the four finest in North America. The Main Hall features the 1864 Hook Organ (aka the Worcester Organ). Built by E. & G.G. Hook, it is the oldest unaltered four-keyboard organ in the Western Hemisphere.

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