Built between 1824 and 1828, the Blackstone Canal offered a new and convenient transportation route between Providence, Rhode Island, and Worcester, Massachusetts. Although it was in operation for only 20 years, the canal had a remarkable influence on Worcester's future, offering the previously land¬locked community a transportation link to the seaport in Providence.
This two-hour walking tour will cover the history of the development and subsequent abandonment of the Blackstone Canal, including descriptions of the Canal District’s streets, buildings, people and events.
We will learn how decisions made long ago shape and impact the future of this historic area. The tour will cover the past, present and future, including the advantages that the historical buildings offered as a framework for adaptive reuse, discussions of recently completed work such as the Worcester Public Market and the urban-oriented Polar Park ballpark, along with details of other significant new projects spurred on by these developments. Stops will include the Worcester Public Market, Crompton Loom Works, Heywood Boot & Shoe Company, W.H. Hill Envelope Company and the Ash Street School.
The tour guides are JoAnn Mills, Preservation Worcester Docent and Allen Fletcher, long-time Canal District advocate and creator of the Worcester Public Market.
Discuss the development of the Blackstone Canal district, the development of the canal and creation of the locks which were a catalyst for industrialization, resulting in the creation of a lively, densely settled, multi¬ethnic, urban neighborhood.
Analyze the advantages of the preservation of existing historic structures and features and how the reuse of historical buildings can bring multiple benefits including the conservation of resources and the preservation of historical context, providing vital links to the past.
Discuss how environmental decisions – in this case, the construction of the canal locks, the industrial pollution that ensued, and the covering of the canal to hide this problem - can have long-term social and environmental impact.
Explore how a 7-way traffic intersection which was originally constructed during the era of horse, buggy and pedestrian traffic was redesigned to improve traffic flow and increase vehicle, cycle and pedestrian safety in one of the busiest intersections in the city.