GARDNER, a township of Worcester county, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Pop. (1890) 8424; (1900) 10,813, of whom 3449 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 14,699. The township is traversed by the Boston & Maine railway. It has an area of 21.4 sq. m. of hill country, well watered with streams and ponds, and includes the villages of Gardner (15 m. by rail W. of Fitchburg), South Gardner and West Gardner. In the township are the state colony for the insane, the Henry Heywood memorial hospital, and the Levi Heywood memorial library (opened in 1886), a memorial to Levi Heywood (r800-1882), a prominent local manufacturer of chairs, who invented various kinds of chairmaking machinery. By far the principal industry of the township (dating from 1805) is the manufacture of chairs, the township having in 1905 the largest chair factory in the world; among the other manufactures are toys, baby-carriages, silver-ware and oil stoves. In 1905 the total factory product of the township was valued at $5,019,019, the furniture product alone amounting to $4,267,064, or 85.2% of the total. Gardner, formed from parts of Ashburnham, Templeton,Westminster and Winchenden, was incorporated in 1785, and was named in honour of Col. Thomas Gardner (1724-1775), a patriot leader of Massachusetts, who was mortally wounded in the battle of Bunker Hill.
See W. D. Herrick, History of the Town of Gardner (Gardner, 1878), covering the years 1785-1878.
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