Fitchburg - Encyclopedia

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FITCHBURG, a city and one of the county-seats of Worcester county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., situated, at an altitude varying from about 433 ft. to about 550 ft., about 23 m. N. of Worcester and about 45 m. W.N.W. of Boston. Pop. (1880) 12,429; (1890) 22,037; (1900) 31,531, of whom 10,917 were foreign-born, including 4063 French Canadians, 836 English Canadians, 2306 Irish and 963 Finns; (1 9 10 census) 37,826. Fitchburg is traversed by the N. branch of the Nashua river, and is served by the Boston & Maine, and the New York, New Haven & Hartford railways, and by three interurban electric lines. The city area (27.7 sq.m.) is well watered, and is very uneven, with hill spurs running in all directions, affording picturesque scenery. The court house and the post office (in a park presented by the citizens) are the principal public buildings. Fitchburg is the seat of a state normal school (1895), with model and training schools; has a free public library (1859; in the Wallace library and art building), the Burbank hospital, the Fitchburg home for old ladies, and an extensive system of parks, in one of which is a fine fountain, designed by Herbert Adams. Fitchburg has large mercantile and financial interests, but manufacturing is the principal industry. The principal manufactures are paper and wood pulp, cotton and woollen goods, yarn and silk, machinery, saws, horn goods, and bicycles and firearms (the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works being located here). In 1905 the city's total factory product was valued at $15,390,507, of which $3,019,118 was the value of the paper and wood pulp product, $2,910,572 was the value of the cotton goods, and $1,202,421 was the value of the foundry and machine shop products. The municipality owns and operates its (gravity) water works system. Fitchburg was included in Lunenburg until 1764, when it was incorporated as a township and was named in honour of John Fitch, a citizen who did much to secure incorporation; it was chartered as a city in 1872.

See W. A. Emerson, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Past and Present (Fitchburg, 1887).

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