Worcester, industrial city (1990 pop. 169,759), seat of Worcester co., central Mass., on the Blackstone River; inc. 1722. The canalization (1828) of the Blackstone River marked the beginning of Worcester's rapid industrial development. A port of entry, Worcester is no longer primarily a manufacturing center, but abrasives, communications products, beverages, and steel-mill equipment are among its products. Medical and educational institutions are now the most significant sectors of the city's economy; insurance firms are also important. Settled in 1673, Worcester suffered Native American attacks in 1675 and 1683. In Shays's Rebellion the courthouse was besieged (1786) by insurgents. The first woman's suffrage national convention was held (1850) in Worcester. Edward Everett Hale was pastor there from 1842 to 1856. Worcester is the seat of Clark Univ., the College of the Holy Cross, the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester State Univ., and other educational institutions. It has a number of notable museums, two zoos, concert halls and a performing arts center, and an annual music festival (dating from 1858). Lake Quinsigamond and two state parks are in the vicinity.
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