Winchendon Massachusetts, 1890

Winchendon lies in the northern border of Worcester County, 68 miles northwest of Boston on the Cheshire Railroad, which runs through the town, connecting with the Fitchburg Railroad at Ashburnham Junction. The latter road runs through the southwest corner of the town, convenient to the village of New Boston. The post-offices are Winchendon (centre) and Waterville, on Miller's River, about one and a half miles northwest of the centre. Other villages are Bullardville, Centreville, Harrisville, Hydesville, Spring Village and Springville.

The boundaries are Ashburnham on the east, Gardner on the southeast, Templeton on the southwest, Royalston on the west, and Fitzwilliam and Rindge, in N.H., on the north. The assessed area is 24,758 acres; of which 5,895 are forest. The land is elevated and hilly, especially in the central part. The principal eminences are Rocky Hill in the northeast, Town-line Hill in the s southeast, Bride Hill in the southwest , Tallow Hill in the northwest, and Benjamin Hill and Mount Pleasant very attractive eminences in the central part. Denison Lake, 87 acres in extent, is a beautiful sheet of water near New Boston; and Monomee pond, of 114 acres, sends a valuable tributary into Miller's River. Many small streams, fed by never-failing springs, circulate through the territory, affording good mill-sites; but the principal hydraulic power to which the place is indebted for its rapid growth and prosperity is furnished by Miller's River, a very handsome and steady stream which enters the town on the eastern border, and, by a very circuitous route, runs far towards the northwest, then turns southward, and leaves the town at the southwestern border.

The largest manufactories are a cotton mill, employing, in 1885, 193 persons; a pail and tub factory, a machine shop, and a toy factory. Twelve persons were employed in making bit-braces, 37 in making chairs and other furniture; 14 in the two saw mills; 11 in the two tanneries; 68 in making sewing and other machinery; 25 in making toys, and 259 in making pails and tubs and other wooden goods. Wrought stone, brooms, carriages, clothing, beverages and other food preparations are also made to a considerable extent. The value of the aggregate product was $1,316,420. The 166 farms yielded the amount of $89,664. The First National Bank of this place has a capital of $200,000; and the Winchendon Savings Bank, at the close of last year, held $666,408 in deposits. The population was 3,872; of whom 914 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,961,296, with a tax-rate of $14.40 on $1,000. The number of assessed dwelling-houses was 769. Winchendon has a good town-hall, a public library of some 4,000 volumes; and two weekly newspapers the "Advertiser" and the "Courier." There is a graded system of schools, which includes a high school. These occupy 10 buildings valued at $32,400. The churches consist of two Congregationalist, a Methodist, a Baptist, an Advent Baptist, a Unitarian and a Roman Catholic.

In June, 1734, the land at this place was granted to Lieut. Abraham Tilton, to be divided into 63 equal parts, one for the minister, one for the schools, one for the ministry in future, and the rest to 60 persons, mostly of Ipswich; hence the settlement received the name of Ipswich Canada. In 1752, the town had ten families, some of whom left the place from fear of the Indians; and those who remained turned their dwellings into garrisons. The first church was organized in 1752, when the Rev. Daniel Simpson was ordained pastor. The town was incorporated, June 14, 1764; its name having been conferred, it is stated by Mr. Whitmore, by Governor Francis Bernard, in honor of a town in England in which he had an heir's interest.

Hon. William Barrett Washburn, a governor of the Commonwealth, and a U.S. senator, was born in this town, January 31, 1820. Winchendon, on October 16, 1889, dedicated a handsome monument to her fallen soldiers.

pp. 706-707 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890