Gardner Journals

Walking Tour of Gardner

A May 2003 trip to Gardner by DonnieR

Quote: Growing up in Gardner was never so fascinating as when I took a tour of the city later in life and discovered many of its historical and cultural facts.

Walking Tour of Gardner

Overview

Quote:
There were so many memorable moments on this visit, such as viewing all the "taken for granted" areas, such as the downtown business establishment, local churches, Metropolitan sights, and viewing the "Giant Wooden Chair" which sits on Elm Street, and which has represented Gardner as the "Chair City of the World" to all visitors.

Quick Tips:

You'll need to get a map and some explanations as to what you are going to see. In other words, a plan is necessary.

Best Way To Get Around:

You can either drive or walk, and if you choose a taxi, you'll be spending big bucks. They're not cheap around this place. Walking is the best bet, though, because it gives you more liberty of movement.
Quote:
This 26-foot-high granite monument was erected in 1939 to memorialize the service of Gardner citizens during World War I. The central obelisk is surrounded by figures representing the three branches of the armed services as well as women nurses. Also in this plaza area are World War II, Korean and Vietnam monuments which memorialize the service of Gardner citizens during these wars and conflicts. A truly moving tribute.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

World War I Monument
City Hall Avenue
Gardner, Massachusetts

Heywood-Wakefield Complex

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Attraction

Quote:
In the West Gardner Square Historic District is this structure, a complex Romanesque Revival building, which reflects an industry that has long had a major influence on Gardner's growth. The Heywood Company began in 1826 when the five Heywood brothers began making chairs at the corner of Central and Elm Streets, which was their father's home. In 1834, the operation moved to its present location, and in 1867, the business became the Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company, until 1921, when it was re-named Heywood-Wakefield. The company no longer has manufacturing operations in Gardner, but some of its buildings in the complex have been beautifully restored into apartments and professional offices....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Heywood-Wakefield Complex
Lake Street / Central Street
Gardner, Massachusetts

Gardner Museum, Inc

Attraction | "The Gardner Museum"

Quote:
This is a part of the Uptown Historical District, and it is a Romanesque structure, which was built in 1886 and was named in honor of Levi Heywood, the industrialist whose inventiveness contributed to Gardner becoming known as the Chair City of the World. His name is on the front gable. The building was the first in the city to then be devoted exclusively as a library, and today it houses the Gardner Museum. My great-grandfather's "folk artist show" was featured at this museum in 1979, and earlier in the city's history, and not always placed on the Walking Tour, is the fact that there'd been a murder at the Gardner Museum, which still remains a mystery to this day. Of course, back th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Gardner Museum, Inc
511 Pearl St
Gardner, Massachusetts 01440
(978) 632-3277

Rosenberg's Block

Attraction

Quote:
This particular building was constructed in 1900 to conform to its triangular site, which was originally the site of Frank Conant's dry goods store. Over the years, this block has housed businesses such as banks, grocers, tailors, and real estate agents. And the original owner of the building was Abraham Rosenberg, a clothier who is believed to be one of Gardner's earliest Jewish residents. In 1910, Rosenberg became one of the organizers of the town's synagogue, the Ohave-Sholom, which is now the home of a local recording studio- "Down Under." In fact, one of the more popular political figures of recent history - Senator Lieberman... his wife, Hadassah (Freilich) Lieberman, attended this synagogue...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Rosenberg's Block
West Gardner Square
Gardner, Massachusetts

Gardner Uptown Historic District

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Story/Tip

Quote:
In 1785, as the record denotes, Gardner was established as a separate town from parts of Winchendon (where I currently live), Ashburnham, Westminster, and Templeton. It was named to honor Thomas Gardner, a man who died from wounds he had received at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Soon after its incorporation, the town purchased land from Seth Heywood for a Town Common, a Meeting House, and a Burying Ground. Consequently, the present Gardner Historic District has been said to be the city's original village center. Not only did this area become the seat of the town's centralized functions, but eventually it also became the area where many of Gardner's "Captains of Industry" built their homes. Many ...Read More

First Congregational Church

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Story/Tip

Quote:
On 28 Green Street in Gardner, there is a particular church which holds great historical significance for this community. This was the town's first Meeting House, and it was a wooden structure measuring 60 feet long and 45 feet wide. Both the church services and town meetings were held in the building, and in those days, towns were theocracies, which meant, of course, that church and town were one. In 1878, the Meeting House was dismantled to allow for the construction of the present Gothic Revival Church, with its 125-foot bell and clock tower. One of my sisters got married in that church, and I played the pipe organ for her, and in most recent years, I've had the opportunity and ho...Read More
Quote:
This Walking Tour could go on indefinitely, with all the sights and sounds of history, and during this tour, there was much to learn. Even more now, as evidenced by the addition of many other historic areas, such as WGAW, the once powerhouse AM radio station; a state prison where the State Hospital once stood; downtown; diverse churches; shopping areas; movie theatres; band concerts in the summertime; furniture factory outlets which have replaced the furniture factories. Then we have the fast food shops, banks, gas stations, liquor stores, and bars, and what would the community be without these amenities? Gardner is about one hour from Boston, and 20 minutes away from the Leominster/F...Read More

About the Writer

DonnieR

DonnieR
Winchendon, Massachusetts