Westminster Massachusetts, 1890

Westminster is an elevated and pleasant farming and manufacturing town, situated upon the highlands in the midst of the northern part of Worcester County, 55; miles northwest of Boston by the Fitchburg Railroad, which crosses the northern section of the town, having a station for Wachusett Village, and one at the village called Westminster Depot. The post-offices are the latter, Westminster (centre) and South Westminster. North Wachusett is another village.

Fitchburg lies on the east, and on the north of an eastern projection; Leominster, on the east; Princeton on the southeast; Hubbardston, on the southwest. and Gardner and Ashburnham both on the northwest and north. The assessed area is 22,484 acres; of which 4,059 acres are forest, consisting of birch, beech, maple, oak, chestnut, walnut, pine arid hemlock. The underlying rock is ferruginous gneiss, dolerite, and, in the east, Merrimack schist. Graphite is found in small quantities. The soil is various, but generally fertile. The land is high and broken, but there are no great elevations, in comparison with Wachusett Mountain, which rises in Princeton from the southern border. Ball Hill at the southeast, Bean-porridge Hill in the north, and Beech Hill at the western border, are the highest. Prospect Hill, near the central village, is a beautiful elevation Wachusett Pond, of 250 acres, in the southern part; Meeting-house Pond, of 172 acres, near the centre; South Gardner Pond, on the western border, adorn the landscape and are pleasant summer resorts. Whitman's River coming in from the north, Flag Brook in the central part, Centre Brook, and Flag Brook in the east, form the drainage system of the town. The streams are generally rapid, and the waters are mostly well stocked with trout and other fish.

The wood product of fuel, electric poles and railroad ties in 1885 was $37,562. Apples, pears and blueberries were also large items in the product of the; 229 farms; the total yield of which was $193,931. There were four furniture factories; and about 100 men were engaged in making chairs and settees; the wooden goods made amounting to $123,992. There were also a paper-mill, a tannery and several other limited manufactories; the total value of goods made being $283,462. The Westminster National Bank has a capital of $100,000. The population is 1,556; the legal voters, 444, and the assessed dwelling houses, 373. The valuation in 1888 was $756,256, with a tax-rate of $14.50 on $1,000. There are a good town hall, a public library of about 2,000 volumes, and 12 public school houses, the latter valued at nearly $10,000. The schools are graded, and include a high school. The churches are one each of the Congregationalists, Baptists and Universalists.

This town, originally called "Narragansett Number Two," was granted for services rendered in King Philip's War. The settlement was commenced in 1737, by Capt. Fairbanks Moore and Deacon Joseph Holden. A church was organized in 1742, and the Rev. Elisha Marsh ordained pastor. In the ensuing year ten forts were built for protection against the Indians. The town was incorporated April 26, 1770; being named for one of the seven boroughs of London. Westminster sent 166 men into the Union service during the late war, and lost 34. A beautiful monument of rollstone granite has been erected to their memory.

Pp. 688-689
in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer