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.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004
World War I Monument
City Hall Avenue
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.
My parents used to live in one of the apartments, but the rent became really steep due to the popularity of this historic site and they had to move. And I used to work at the Heywood-Wakefield furniture factory when I was a high school lad, and did so for about a year after school was out. Then in later years, when it developed into a shell, I worked for a security company who oversaw the security measures of the building.
It now remains a major sight in the city of Gardner. A local treasure, they say.
Lake Street / Central Street
Attraction | "The Gardner Museum"
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 then it was the library for the city of Gardner.
Gardner Museum, Inc
511 Pearl St
Gardner, Massachusetts 01440
An interesting sight, nevertheless.
West Gardner Square
Many notable areas are in this Uptown District, such as the Town Common, where Gardner's early militia held its musters. Then, there were the homes of the early settlers. Names such as Jonathan Prescott, Asa Smith, Volney Howe, Collier, Wilder, Sratton, Osgood, Bush, Bancroft, and Edgell may just be some street signs today, but these were flesh and blood types and their homes are on this walking tour, giving it some humanity.
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 honor to play the grand piano for a number of church services which have been held on Sunday mornings. I guess that means, I've been made a part of its history.
Directly behind this church is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city of Gardner, and for a time, there was a sign to the residents asking if any of their ancestors were buried there, in order to put the history in order.
It's a beautiful church!
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/Fitchburg areas. It's approximately 2 hours away from the New York Border, and 30-45 minutes away from the New Hampshire and Vermont Borders.
All in all, a marvelous tour, and one highly recommended.