Worcester Historical Museum

1871-1900

"We foster industry in every possible way."

-Mayor Samuel Winslow, 1889

In the late 1800s, Worcester became a major manufacturing center. Worcester rivaled giant cities like New York and Philadelphia in the diversity of products manufactured. Metal working and machine building became the city's core industries. Opportunity attracted thousands of new immigrants from Ireland, Canada, and Sweden. Some brought specialized skills essential to the success of local businesses. Immigrant groups settled near workplaces, building communities based on old world ties and new world experiences. The "three decker" houses that many lived in were a new architectural feature on the evolving city landscape. Language, ethnicity, and religion divided workers, at the same time that a shared cultural background united factory owners and managers.

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