« PreviousContinue »
inent, occupation of man. The soil on which we live is the great store-house of wealth, from which we draw it freely and which contributes so largely to supply the wants of man. Gladly, then, do we welcome to our city the representatives of the agricultural interests, especially when we consider the farming resources of our county. We believe here in Worcester in the farms and in the men who come from them to aid us in building up our city and our State. We know the sterling character of the Massachusetts farmers; and, gathered here as you are, to consider questions relating to their welfare, I am glad of the opportunity to welcome you to Worcester. I trust and hope that your meeting will be a pleasant and valuable one, and that the influence that shall go forth from the papers and discussions will be not only of value to the farming community, but to all the citizens in our city and throughout our State.
The CHAIRMAN. The State Board is here to-day by invitation of the Worcester Agricultural Society. The president of that society will now extend to you a welcome in its behalf. I have the pleasure of introducing Mr. J. LEWIS ELLSWORTH.
BY J. LEWIS ELLSWORTH OF WORCESTER.
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE : – As president of the Worcester Agricultural Society, at whose invitation you have honored us, it is my pleasant duty to extend you a cordial welcome in their behalf, to the city of Worcester. Twenty-five years ago this Board held the third of these meetings here, and fourteen years ago we were favored again. These two meetings left us with a better knowledge of the principles of cultivating the soil and conducting farming operations. The persons who represented you and the advice given have not been forgotten by the farmers of these hill-sides in Worcester and the adjoining towns.
It is customary, upon opening these meetings, to give a brief sketch of the city or town where the meeting is held, that those who attend may be better acquainted with the place and with the industries of the people who reside there.
We are proud of our city, - of its well-kept highways leading to the fertile farms upon the outskirts.
No city could ask for more attractive pleasure drives than lead from Worcester in all directions, down to the beautiful Lake Quinsigamond on the east, or among the farms on the west. In these drives the thrift of the farming population is very noticeable in well-painted buildings and close-cut lawns, ornamented by. shrubs and flowers. The roadsides are shaded by rows of trees set out by private individuals or the park commission. Upon Arbor Day certain varieties of shade trees are given by the park commission to those who will take the trouble to set them out by the roadside. Many have availed themselves of this opportunity, and in a few years hence we shall see the beautiful results. Nature has been very lavish in her gifts to Worcester. The wellrounded hills, green to their summits, combine with the fertile valleys in one beautiful landscape.
Worcester was settled in 1664, by half a dozen families from Sudbury, Watertown and Charlestown, and was first called Quinsigamond, from the name of a tribe of Indians located here. The fertile country around Worcester attracted the attention of the first settlers. They were interested in the development of the country, and to gain neighbors they petitioned the Great and General Court to have a committee appointed to make surveys, investigate the country, and report their findings. The committee was appointed in 1665. In 1667 they reported that they had viewed the location, and found it twelve miles from Marlborough on the road to Springfield, about half-way between Springfield and Boston, and that it was a tract of very good chestnuttree land, of meadow not so much. However, they reported in favor of a small plantation or town of thirty families; or, if it was to include the territory which had previously been granted to others, it would in their estimation support sixty families. Now, after the lapse of more than two centuries, as we look upon these hills and valleys of that very good chestnut-trec land, thickly dotted with homes of the people engaged in many trades and professions, and supporting a dense population, the low estimate of the capacity of the tract of land, which might possibly support sixty families, furnishes strong contrast between their humble anticipations and our now overflowing prosperity. Worcester was incorporated a town in 1722 and a city in 1848. Within the memory of some of its citizens, Worcester has grown from a little farming village to a manufacturing and commercial city, with a population of 85,000, and with an assessed valuation of $69,403,251. There is annually appropriated $1,178,221 to defray the expense of maintaining and extending the public institutions, for schools, the public library, highways, sewers, water and fire departments, and to provide police protection.
There are two hundred and ten miles of streets; six miles of these are paved, and thirty miles macadamized. We have one hundred and fourteen miles of water pipes, and seventy-one miles of sewers.
The educational institutions of the city constitute a feature in which the inhabitants feel a commendable pride. There are in its public schools 12,175 pupils, and the average annual expense of these schools amounts to $252,669, a sum exceeding that expended in any other municipal department. The value of the school buildings and their equipments is $1,200,000. Worcester contains within its borders Clark University, a princely and munificent gift of one of its many open-handed citizens. Again, it has the College of the IIoly Cross, and the Polytechnic Institute for free education in scientific and mechanical pursuits. This is one of our most useful institutions, as it yearly sends out young men with an education practical and thorough. It was founded by Mr. Boynton, and has been since assisted by the late I. Washburn and Mr. Stephen Salisbury. There is also the State Normal School, the Worcester Academy and the Highland Military Academy.
Another public measure in which Worcester takes an especial pride is its system of public parks. These are so arranged as to form a chain or garland round about the city, and afford to each section of the city its own breathing-place. There are eleven of these, and they contain an aggregate of three hundred and sixty-two acres. Of this number, all but two have been acquired by purchase or have been the gift of public-spirited citizens within the past five years. The work of developing these tracts is progressing under the skilled and intelligent direction of the park commission, and already several have been transformed into beautiful resorts, where rich and poor alike may enjoy the pure air and see the beauties of nature without trespassing on private grounds.
Connected with the sewer department is the purification plant. The people living along the Blackstone River, into which the city sewage empties, appealed to the Legislature to compel the city to purify the sewage before allowing it to enter the river. Accordingly our engineer was sent abroad to investigate the matter. After considering different methods, he finally recommended chemical precipitation. The works are now complete and in operation. From three to four million gallons of sewage are daily successfully treated, and the dirty water is changed into clear, bright, and to all appearance pure, water. Worcester has the only large plant of the kind in the country. Lime is the principal chemical used. When this is first applied, the water becomes inky black, but as it passes on from tank to tank, six in number, the foul matter settles, until in the last the water flows away perfectly clear.
Worcester owes its plienomenal growth to its varied manufacturing interests, which require all grades of laborers, from the most highly skilled down to the least. The population is continually on the increase, for there is always a demand for labor in one branch of business or another. Among the largest manufactories are the Washburn & Moen Company, employing 3,500 men, and making all grades of wire; the Crompton & Knowles Loom Works, and the Whittall Carpet Factory. There are also manufactories where envelopes, iron and wood working machinery, firearms, water meters, cutlery, ice and roller skates, and many other articles of merchandise, are made. Agricultural implements are also manufactured to a great extent. One firm alone, the Ames Plow Company, manufactures nearly every kind of tool used on the farm. This house has sent out 225 different kinds of plows within the past forty years. Another firm, the Richardson Manufacturing Company, has sent out this year 7,000 mowing machines, 3,000 hay tedders, and 1,000 manure spreaders. It is estimated that the sales of the several manufacturing industries of Worcester amounted to about $40,000,000 the past year.
Worcester leads as an agricultural city also. There are 23,040 acres of land in the city, and of these 18,249 are devoted to agriculture. This land is divided into 349 farms, and, according to the census of 1885, the products of these farms were valued at $620,756. Market gardening is carried on to a considerable extent, and is on the increase, as the growth of the city creates a greater demand; but the chief source of income is from the dairy. No cheese is manufactured, and but little butter. Most of the milk is sent direct from the dairy to the city, and there delivered to families; but a considerable amount is sold at wholesale. The standard price of milk at retail is six cents per quart during the winter months, and five cents during the summer. Stock raising is carried on only to a very limited extent, farmers preferring to supply their dairies by purchasing cows. By the census from which I have already quoted, the value of the dairy products produced was $209,336; hay, $148,061 ; vegetables, $74,374; fruit, $29,314; poultry and eggs, $20,990.
The Worcester Agricultural Society, one of the oldest in the State, and for many years the only agricultural society in the county, was incorporated Feb. 23, 1818, having for its object the promotion of agriculture. The first president was the late Levi Lincoln, and the first vice-president the late Daniel Waldo. The first exhibition was held in October, 1818, on the open space where the city hall now stands. The exhibitions were held in the same place until 1852, when the society departed from its customary order of holding cattle-shows on public grounds, and purchased land for the purpose. The first parcel purchased contained six and one-half acres, and cost the society $2,765. This was the nucleus of the valuable tract now owned by the society. about one-half mile west of Main Strect. The present grounds contain twenty-four acres, with a half mile track, in fine repair ; a grand stand three hundred feet long; two large exhibition buildings; sheds for cattle, sheep and swine, and closed stables for horses. The property of the society is valued at $125,000. The grounds are compact, and