Monday, January 20, 2014

Psychoanalyzed at Clark University - A Historic District

Clark University is the second oldest graduate school in the US. It opened in 1889 and until 1902 only offered graduate studies. Founded by donations given by Jonas G Clark. Not bad for a carriage maker, furniture and hardware maker. Actually he made his million in California dealing in miners' supplies. During the 1880's Clark was convinced the country need a university that encouraged dreaming in the form of research and investigation that was not offered at the other US universities. He felt the other schools offered only instructions and no innovation. He hired Granville Stanley Hall as the first president, who toured Europe to model Clark University curriculum and organization. Hall invited a controversial phsyc doctor, named Sigmund Freud, who accepted the speaking engagement. This would be Siggy only appearance in the US. Hall was a known scholar of the time that served as a professor at Antioch, Harvard, William College and John Hopkins. Sounds like he couldn't keep a job to me. As so it started.

Their words not mine

Founded in 1887 as the first all-graduate institution in the country, Clark today is a renowned liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale.

With our small size, urban location, capacity for interdisciplinary learning, and emphasis on effective practice, we cultivate an environment uniquely supportive of students' interests and ambitions.

Students come to Clark with the passion to make a difference, and we honor that passion by engaging them intensely with the world in all its diversity and complexity, enabling them to become more globally aware, focused, and prepared to act.

Sounds pretty impressive to me.

Any way take a walk with me as I visit the campus.

Thru these gates one will come out hopefully a little smarter

Clark University

Clark University

Clark Hall was built in 1877. One would think after Clark went thru all the trouble to establish a different kind of building it would have been a bit more grandiose, however it was built this way, pretty simple, in then event the school failed it could easily be swithched over to industrial use. Clark Hall contain the offices, library, gym and classrooms until the early 20th century and is still the center of the universe at Clark.

Clark University

Neat entrance

Clark University

You should always know if you are going to be late for a class with such a great clock tower.

Clark University

Sigmund Freud sitting out front of Clark Hall.

Clark University

The Academic Building was built 1901 to 1903 and was the University Library. It is English Collegiate Gothic style and was modeled after library of Trinity College in Cambridge, England

Clark University

The Academic Building addition was built in 1910 and expanded on the existing library.

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Atwood Hall was built in 1938-39 and does not share in the rich historic events of the founder Clark or first president, Hall.

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The current gymnasium at Clark University, which was built in 1930.

Clark University

Clark University

One of the modern building at Clark University housing the Bioscience lab.

Clark University

The Student Union was built in 1958 and is right by the entrance gates.

Clark University

Right across the street are two great historic churches. These have nothing to do with Clark University other than they share the same neighborhood.

This church is known as the South Baptist Church built in 1896. Originally there was a smaller church on the site, and was replaced with this one. The Baptists occupied this building into the 1970's. It is home to the Spanish Pentecostal congregation.

Iglesia De Dios MB - South Baptist (Historic)

St Peter's construction began in 1884 and was not completed until 1893. Phew !! It was built to support the growing Catholic population in this area of Worcester. It is predominantly Victorian Gothic and is one of Worcester's most ornate church buildings.

St. Peters Catholic Church - Worcester MA

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gettin Educated at Worcester Academy

Worcester Academy was found in 1834 as the Worcester County Manual Training School by a group of Baptists. Their intent was to establish "an academy that would give the poor boy an opportunity for liberal education". A 60 acre farm was purchased and a Mansion House and chapel was built which was located on Main St. in Worcester. By 1854 the Academy is was in dire financial straits and sold its Main St campus to Eli Thayer, who moved the Academy to the American Antiquarian Society (which is a National Historic Landmark). In 1869 Isaac Davis purchased the Union Hill campus (the place where all the photos were taken) and became the Academy's first president.

On the land that Isaac purchased was a building constructed in 1852 that served as the Worcester Medical College and then became the home of the Ladies' Collegiate Institute and then in 1864 became the Dale General Hospital to care for the wounded Union soldiers. The lady's school was crushed by the panic of 1857.

In 1869 the building was renamed Davis Hall and served as classrooms and a dormitory for Worcester Academy. Unfortunately Davis Hall was razed and replaced by modern day buildings that are not included in the historic district. Although Davis was the first president, Daniel W Abercrombie serving as principal from 1892 to 1918 was probably the most important figure in the school's architectural history. Under his leadership all of the main buildings were built during his tenure.

 As you get edumacated during your readings of WA, you will see the buildings are in wonderful condition and great examples of Victorian Institutional architecture.  For those of you that are interested when we talk about Victorian architecture, we are really referring to the reign of Queen Victoria and the time period when the buildings were erected.

The Academy is right off Providence St and you enter via the main gates. As you can there is some construction going on. Directly in front of you is Walker Hall and immediately to the right is the Abercrombie House.

Gates Worcester Academy

The Abercrombie House is the only wood structure on the campus. It serves as the headmaster house and was built in 1887 for Daniel Abercrombie. It is considered a Victorian House in the Queen Anne style. It is not part of the National Register Historic District.

Abercrombie House

Worcester Academy Abercrombie House

Walker Hall was built in 1889. It serves as classrooms, administrative offices and meeting rooms.

Walker Hall

Walker Hall

Walker Hall - Worcester Academy

The Megaron fits between Walker and Adams Hall. It was built in 1906 and was built to serve as a social activities building for the campus.


Adams Hall was built in 1892 and served as the dining hall.

Adams Building

Next up is Dexter Hall also built in 1892. This place was the dormitory.

Dexter Hall

Dexter Hall Doorway

Kingsley Lab built in 1897 supports the science curriculum at Worcester Academy.

Kingsley Lab

The Historic District includes only Walker, Megaron, Adams, Dexter and Kingsley Lab. All of the other buildings are not part of the nomination to the district. That does not make them any less significant of spectacular.

The Warner Memorial was built in 1929 by Harry Warner as a memorial to his son Lewis who attended Worcester Academy. So who is the Harry Warner? Yup the one and only movie guy. I best remember Warner Bros by the logo at the end of Looney Tunes, but they are much bigger than that. The theater is by far the most stunning building on the campus.

Warner Memorial

Last building is Daniels Gym which was built in 1915.

Daniels Gym

The Academy started out as a place for poor kids to get a better education, today it is a vibrant private school serving grades 6 thru 12. Not sure it still fills the vision of the original Baptists who founded the school with tuition starting at 29K and up to 59K, wowwie zowwie

Worcester Academy Map

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shoeing and Booting Around the Harding and Winter Manufacturing District

The Harding & Winter Street Manufacturing District contains brick factory buildings built between 1870 and 1898. With the decline of manufacturing in Worcester in the 1970’s has left many areas fragmented, however this area is pretty well preserved from its heyday.  This area is right next to the Blackstone Canal built in 1828, matter of fact the area where Harding Street is located was filled in to create the street. This area was a major boot and shoe manufacturing area in Worcester. That industry grew to be the 3rd largest industry in Worcester. In 1885 the factories employed just over 2,600 people with a quarter of them working in the Heywood and Walker factories.  The Hill Envelope Company, with its revolutionary envelope machine employed many folks as well.

A lot of you will wonder what is Willie doing. These places are just buildings and not particularly good looking buildings to boot. To me it is about the history and I find thru the pictures and walking around they tell a story of the past. I can see those 2300 workers smoking cigarettes, waiting to get thru the door, holding their lunches  to begin the day of work. 

JH & GM Walker Shoe Company


The JH and GM Walker Shoe Factory was built in 1870 and enlarged in 1879 and then again in 1895. The company was formed in 1862 when the two Walker brothers left their father’s firm. They became so successful, they opened a tannery in Chicago as well. They were known for their heavy boots which where very popular in the American West. The company served as a training ground for future entrepreneurs  for at least 23 independent shoemakers. In 1888 the Walker Company was bought out and continued to make the Walker Boot in a different location.  Today it appears this building lies dormant and unoccupied.

JH & GM Walker Shoe Company

JH & GM Walker Shoe Company

 The Watchusett building was built in 1879 and also enlarged multiple times. Samuel R Heywood was its original owner, who was also a shoe and boot manufacturer. They made a finer grade of shoes and by 1899 dropped making boots and concentrated on shoes.  The firm remained in the family which they continued making shoes into 1940, when they ceased manufacturing operations. They did continue to sell shoes until 1961.

Wachusett Building

Wachusett Building

 The Hill Envelope Company building  was built in 1890. It all began with Dr Russell Hawes who invented an envelope folding machine in 1846. This machine was the first practical envelope folding machine in the US. Hawes was a physician. One has to wonder where his mind was when taking care of his patients.  In 1866 Wade H Hill entered in business with this guy Devoe who was a decedent of the Hawes family. By 1869 Hill took over the entire business and renamed it the WH Hill Co. They were serveral other envelope making companies in Worcester which were all merged into one company which form the US Envelope Company.

Today this place is place to come home to at night after working all day.

JH & GM Walker Shoe Company

Hill Envelope Company

 The Worcester Stained Glass Works was built in 1898. This was founded by David Welch who received his training in Boston. He died in 1910 and the firm continued under Edgar P Welch and William Massey.  Among their more notable works was the glass for St Anne’s and Park Street Congregational Churches.

Today the building houses Bocado, an authentic Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar.  Based on Yelp and Trip Advisor they get pretty good ratings.

Worcester Stained Glass Works

This is a view looking down Harding St. which once was occupied by the Blackstone Canal. The Blackstone Canal was built in 1828 that connected Providence, RI to Worcester, MA. This provided Worcester a connection with the Atlantic Ocean via Providence. It was replaced with the coming of the railroad, but has a rich history all to itself.

Blackstone Canal Harding St

This place has absolutely nothing to do with this historic district, other than it is on Harding St. I just like the ghost sign on the side of the building.

Harding Street Ghost Sign

Another building on Harding St that is not part of the historic district is the Muslin Underwear Company. That is its historic name because they were the first tenants in the building in 1910. By 1912 Pobolinski & Sons were the tenants and their name is on the building. By 1922 Carling Blower Company occupied the place and then Victor Washing Fluid in 1942. Since 1956 it has been used for storage and light manufacturing.

What is Muslin Underwear I asked myself. To the internet and found out muslin is a type of cotton cloth used in luxurious garments. It was thought to have originated in Bengal . Not having a clue where Bengal was I had to look that up. Right by India, hence the Bengal Tiger, but they didn't wear muslin. Today Bengal is Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Worcester Muslin Underwear Company

That completes this tour. Heres a general overhead map view of the area.

Harding Winter St

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Inching My Way Around Worcester Institutional Historic District

One of my hobbies is traveling to places on the National Register of Historic Places, mostly on the FJR in the past, but now in the MINI. I always avoided the Historic Districts which comprises multiple locations in an area, rather than individually listed places. They were intimidating and I was never sure which buildings were in and which were out. Having discovered various ways to access the Nomination Forms for the NRHP has opened a whole new world of local history to me. Now it is just not the single late 1700’s house that looks just like an old house, but a way to learn about a whole area. I never found history interesting in junior or senior high school. Maybe it was the way it was taught or maybe it is because I am becoming part of history as I age.

While this writing is occurring in the winter of 2014 and my visit occurred on a hot August day in 2013, I choose to mix “in the past” and “current” times in this writing because I can and I don’t care if it not correct grammar or style. Today’s visit is to Worcester Institutional District, which is roughly anchored by the Worcester Court House and Worcerster Memorial Hall, two pretty well known buildings for folks that live in the area.

This particular area dates back to the 17th century (1600’s), pretty old from US standards, with mills and a wooden fort the primary buildings in the area. One prominent person, Stephen Salisbury I purchased most of the surrounding land. He was a successful merchant for the times and his son Stephen Salisbury II inherited his estate, which then flowed to Stephen Saiisbury III, whom donated or sold much of the family land to various organizations that built up the area. His most notable of his donations was the land for the Worcester Art Museum. One other person of importance was Judge William Jennison who donated the land for the Worcester County Courthouse in 1732. None of the buildings are really that old with the oldest dating back to the 1840’s.

The Worcester County Courthouse was built between 1843 and 1845, had some additions in 1878. The front had a major facelift in 1898-99. The site the courthouse sits on has been the county seat dating back to 1731. Today the cases have been transferred to downtown leaving this building pretty much unoccupied.

Worcester County Courthouse

Worcester County Courthouse

Worcester County Courthouse

Take a look at the underside of General Devens horse. Someone had some fun with paint or something or was it artistic enhancements. Let me assure you it was not photo magic on my part.

Worcester County Courthouse

Right down the street from the court house is Worcester War Memorial Auditorium. This is really in the heart of the institution district. This was built in 1932/32 time period. It sits upon a pedestal of Deer Island (the one in Maine) granite complimented with Indiana limestone uptop. The bas relief reflected the Art Deco style. It was built as a memorial to those who served in WWI. Today it lies vacant just like the court house. You can see the auditorium and the Worcester Boys' Club in the background.

Worcester War Memorial Auditorium

Right across the street is the Worcester War Memorial. This was built in 1935 to honor those in WWI like the auditorium. Whats neat about this memorial is the semi circular granite bench with has bas reliefs and inscriptions of the major battles during the war. I am unclear what the status of this building is today.

Worcester War Memorial

Worcester War Memorial

Worcester Historical Marker

Right next to the War Memorial is the Worcester Boys' CLub that was built in 1928-30. It is a Georgian Revival brick building and it fa├žade is a concave curve. The curve is the same as the street it faces. The front entrance is very elaborate, almost over the top. I wonder what the boys thought as they entered the building.

Worcester Boys' Club

Worcester Boys' Club

Worcester Boys' Club

As you head up Grove St you will find Central Church on your right. This will built in 1884-85 on land purchased from Stephen Salisbury III ( you will hear that name a lot around here ). It is a perfect example of Romanesque Revival architecture, constructed of Longmeadow limestone, which I don't have a clue where Longmeadow is. The church was the Central Congregational Society church that got together in 1820. They built their first church on Main St and then this one in 1884. One of these days I will go back to hopefully photograph that great Rosetta Stain Glass window, which was made by Sarah Lyman Whitman.

Central Church

Central Church

Right next to the church is the Worcester Historical Society (historically speaking) built between 1890 and 91. It is also Romanesque Revival in style, but I don't think there is an architectural connection between with the church. Today I think this place is a plastic surgeon joint.

Worcester Historical Society

Right next store is the Worcester Woman's Club. This building really sticks out compared to the rest of the structure in the area because of the shape, color of the bricks and the corner turrets. It was designed by one of America's earliest woman architects, Josephine Wright Chapman. It was built in 1902 with land donated by Stephen Salisbury III. At the peak of participation in the club, membership was limited to 750. Today it is the home to the Worcester Symphony Orchestra and the name of the building was changes to Tuckerman Hall.

Worcester Woman's Club

Worcester Woman's Club

Right across Salisbury St is the Worcester National Guard built in 1889-90. It also has flavors of Romanesque Revival traits. Most striking is the fortress like looks, which I am sure was intended by the architects. If was first occupied by the First Field Artillery of the Massachusetts militia. With the approach of WWI the armory was purchased by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from the City of Worcester. It has a great front door with nice detail.

Worcester National Guard Armory

As we move up Salisbury Street, the next place is North High School, which is actually 2 buildings. The Romanesque Revival looking one was built in 1889. It was originally a grammar school until 1911 and then converted over to North High School. In 1915 the more plain looking building was added. Both building are true to their original construction. Both buildings are condominiums today.

North High School

North High School

Across the street is the Worcester Art Museum, which has gone thru many alterations over its life. The original building which you can't see from the front was built in 1887, which an addition in 1921, a facelift in 1933 (which is the front view you see today) and then a more modern day addition in 1970. If you look at the side picture where the boy in a sailor suit in the bricked window with the palladian top, that section is the original museum. The museum was founded by Stephen Salisbury III (there's that name again) who made the original gift of land and a fund.

The day I was out taking these pics, I entered the museum and found out during August it was free to visit. There were a lot of oil paintings of historic folks and scenes which were nice, but I don't know enough about this stuff to really appreciate them, other than they are really old. In the next section was a more modern abstract, colorful, and more to my liking prints, paintings or sculptures. There was one of a Campbell Soup Can that rang Andy Warhol to me. The most outstanding exhibit and one that I spent about an hour at was Garry Winogrand "Women are Beautiful" exhibit. In my terms these were simple street photos of women doing what they do every day. They photo's were B&W and really quite effective. They must have been good, because I would stop and just look at the photos, coming up with all sorts of imaginative stuff.

Worcester Art Museum

Worcester Art Museum

This is a picture of the area just after you walk into the museum from Salisbury St. The mosaic on the floor is an ancient Roman mosaic from Antioch and is supposedly one of the largest and finest examples of its kind. If you have a couple of hours, check this place out.

Worcester Art Museum

Over the last couple of years I have been slowly visiting all of the Worcester historical hotspots. Institutional Historic District or locally known as Lincoln and Armory Square goes undetected everyday as we drive on Main Street or Highland St on our way someplace else. It is under appreciated at least. If you are here, hopefully I have raised your appreciation just a little bit. If you are more of an aficionado on Worcester History, I realize I have missed one of the buildings and will be heading back out to visit it in the very near future. It's the CDO in me.

Worcester Institutional Historic District