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, its manufactures include machinery, metal goods, chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, glass, electrical equipment, textiles, clothing, and shoes. There is also a printing and publishing industry, and state hospitals add to the city's economy. 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, and Worcester State College. It has a number of notable museums, two zoos, and an annual music festival (dating from 1858). Also of interest is a huge three-level shopping center with a Plexiglas dome. Lake Quinsigamond and two state parks are in the vicinity.

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