Leominster Massachusetts, 1890

Leominster is a pleasant and flourishing town in the northeast part of Worcester County, 46 miles northwest of Boston on the Fitchburg Railroad. The station on this road is North Leominster. A branch of the Old Colony Railroad runs through the town, having stations at Gate's Crossing, Leominster Centre and West Leominster, and connecting with Fitchburg and the roads on the south. Fitchburg and Lunenburg lie on the north, the latter and Lancaster on the east, Sterling on the south, and Princeton and Westminster on the west.

The assessed area is 17,487 acres, of which 5,740 are in forest, consisting of walnut, oak, birch, maple, chestnut and pine. The northern and main branch of the Nashua River, issuing from ponds at the northwest, flows northward into Fitchburg, then southward through the eastern part of Leominster, receiving from the west the Monoosnook and Fall brooks, all of which furnish good mill powers. The natural ponds are White's and Rocky, with several reservoirs almost equally attractive. The land in the east, southeast, and a section in the west is level or undulating, the remainder being hilly. Sheldon's Hill, near the centre, is a beautiful eminence, and Monoosnock Hill, in the north, has an altitude of 1,020 feet above the level of the sea. Other hills of some prominence are Carter's, also near the centre, Bees in the south and Rocky in the southwest. The geological formation is Merrimack schist. There is also a plentiful supply of a dull blue or a dark gray granite. Good brick clay is found; and the soil is generally a mixture of gravel and clay.

The town has 218 farms; and the value of the aggregate product of these in the last census year was $188,754. The manufactories consist of two carriage factories (making baby-carriages chiefly), three or four piano factories, two woollen mills, a tannery, two furniture factories, a toy factory, button works, a shirt factory, several factories making combs and other horn goods, a paper box factory, a paper mill, a leather board mill, two shoe shops and others. Altogether, these employ upwards of 3,000 persons. The value of the aggregate product was $1,668,157. There is here a national bank with a capital of $150,000, and a savings bank, carrying, at the close of last year, $655,234 in deposits. The dwelling-houses number 1,155. The population is 5,297; and there are 1,478 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $4,069,045, with a tax-rate of $18 on $1,000.

Among the new buildings are a railway station, Allen's Block, at the centre; and at North Leominster a new Congregational church and a school building. The schools are graded, and include a high school; and are provided with 13 buildings, valued, exclusive of the last, at about $40,000. The public library has some 12,000 volumes. There are two weekly papers published here, the " Enterprise" and the "Leader." The Congregationalists have in the town two churches; the Baptists, the Methodists, the Unitarians and the Roman Catholics each one. Leominster and North Leominster are the post-offices.

This town was originally a part of Leicester, and bore the name of "The New Grant" until its incorporation, June 23, 1740. It was named for the ancient town of Leominster, in England. As early as 1725 Gershom Houghton and James Boutelle erected houses in the south part of the town, and were soon followed by others. A church was organized September 14, 1743, over which Rev. John Rogers (H.U. 1732) was ordained pastor.

The first paper-mill in the town was erected by William Nichols and Jonas Kendall in 1796. The sons of Mr. Kendall made paper on a cylinder machine as early as 1825, and introduced in 1833 the Fourdrinier machine. For a long period this was the leading business of the place. The town suffered severely by fire on the night of July 19, 1873.

The first physician of the town was Jacob Peabody, who settled here in 1746, and died in 1759. Dr. Daniel Adams, formerly well known as an author of school text-books, settled here in 1799, and edited for a while, the "Telescope," a weekly paper started here in January, 1800.

Leominster was patriotic in the Revolution, announcing its spirit in an address to the people of Boston, in 1766, which closed with the laconic and startling words, "We must, we can, and we will be free !" In the late war it furnished 410 men for the Union armies; 38 of them losing their lives in the service. To the memory of these the town has erected a handsome monument.

pp. 412-413 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer