Opened in 1828 and in operation for only twenty years, the now-buried Blackstone Canal had a remarkable influence on Worcester’s future. Learn about this transportation waterway – the catalyst which, over the course of the 19th century, transformed what was then a small, land-locked, county seat into a flourishing industrial city.
By the Canal – A Walking Tour by JoAnn Mills
Stay tuned as we work on updating our tour’s QR tags, which are no longer supported.
Preservation Worcester’s By the Canal Tour is a self-guided tour of the streets and buildings of Worcester’s Canal District. This tour highlights eleven buildings that reflect the history of both the city and the neighborhood. Nine were built before the Blackstone Canal, which first opened in 1828, was covered over in the late 1800s. All retain much of their original architectural character. With the By the Canal Tour you will uncover surprising bits of history and hear stories about the people, events and economy that made Worcester the city it is today.
You can pick up our By the Canal: Canal District Walking Tour brochure during business hours at Preservation Worcester’s office at 10 Cedar Street. Or you can download a copy from below and print it from your computer.
Click here to access a pdf file of the inside cover of the By the Canal Tour Brochure. (Note this file is 16.2 MB in size.)
Click here to access a pdf file of the outside cover of the By the Canal Tour Brochure. (Note this file is 23.7 MB in size.)
Click here to see a tour map from which you may visit the tour sites and listen to the audio version of the tour from your computer. You will land on the Union Station page. Here you will see buttons for the Union Station and Extended Version tour segments. Select one of the buttons to begin the tour. When you have finished listening to a tour segment, scroll to the map at the bottom of the page where you can select the next tour segment.
The tour map can be found at the bottom of each tour page. To take the tour in the suggested order, begin at Union Station and follow the sites numerically. Alternatively, you may choose the sites in whatever order you please by clicking on the appropriate QR tag.
Preservation Worcester’s Around the Common Walking Tour is a self-guided tour of the buildings and monuments on and around Worcester Common. This tour tells the story of the city’s history from its establishment as a town in 1722 to the present. Learn about the story of Worcester and its people, its past and present, and how over time government, religion, commerce and community have shaped the heart of the city.
Pick up our Around the Common Walking Tour brochure at Preservation Worcester’s headquarters at 10 Cedar Street during business hours. Or you can download a copy from below and print it from your computer.
To take a self-guided walking tour on-site, you have two options:
For smartphone access to the audio portion of the tour: Begin by downloading from the internet a free QR Code Reader App that is compatible with your phone. To activate the audio tour, use your phone to scan the tags displayed on tour markers along the route of the tour, on the downloadable Tour Map, or on the Around the Common: A Downtown Walking Tour brochure.
Click here to access a jpg file of the inside of the Around the Common Tour Brochure. (The file size is 2.9 MB.)
Click here to access a jpg file of the outside of the Around the Common Tour Brochure. (The file is 6.2 MB.)
Click here to begin the tour at the first site, Worcester Common. Here you will see buttons for the Worcester Common and Cattle Shows on the Common. Click on these buttons to listen to the audio tour for this location. When you have finished listening to one or both tour segments, scroll to the map at the bottom of the page where you can select the next tour segment.
The tour map can be found at the bottom of each tour page. To take the tour in the suggested order, begin at Worcester Common and follow the sites numerically. Alternatively, you may choose the sites in whatever order you please by clicking on the appropriate QR Tag.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.