Worthington MA History
A Short History of Worthington Massachusetts
What follows is a short history of Worthington, Massachusetts adopted from a one page handout I came across some years ago. The handout was probably written for the Worthington bicentennial celebration. The author(s) of this history is not known to me; it is included here for your interest. I have made minor edits to eliminate things or organizations that no longer exist. For more complete and up to date history visit the Worthington Historical Society website. There, in addition to Worthington history, you can find exhibits, publications, photographs, genealogy, information on the Historical Society and much more.
Welcome To Worthington
Worthington was bought from the Massachusetts Bay Province in 1762 by five proprietors (one of them John Worthington), who undertook the requirement of establishing sixty settlers within five years. In 1768, it was incorporated into a town. By 1796 it was such an important crossroads on the Boston-Albany Turnpike that a post office was established, the first one between Northampton and Pittsfield. Its population peak of 1395 was reached in 1810. By 1895 it had dropped to 648, and the 1975 figures show 807.
It has an area of 33½ square miles, centered on a high plateau with an elevation of about 1500 feet. Originally, the whole town was laid out in small farms, and every resident was a farmer. Gradually small industries, such as woodworking mills and tanneries, were set up. Worthington had a period of fame as a summer resort, beginning when horses were still the means of transport.
The Town has two church buildings. The beautiful colonial one in South Worthington was built in 1847 by a Methodist Society, and it is maintained by the South Worthington Church Association which sponsors a memorial service each year. The Congregational Society was organized in 1771. The site of its primitive church is marked by a tablet at the corner of West Street and Sam Hill Road. Just across Sam Hill Road from this is the restored house of the first minister. The present church was built in 1888. Roman Catholic services are held in the Town Hall.
The Town Hall, another of the town's historic buildings, was built in 1855 and enlarged in 1933.
There were once eleven one-room schools in town. In 1837, they had 326 pupils enrolled. (In 1976, one of these was restored as one of the Town's Bicentennial Projects.) When the Russell H. Conwell School was opened in 1941, it replaced a two-room school in the Lyceum Building at the Corners, a one-room school in West Worthington, and a one-room school in South Worthington. In 1963, the Gateway Regional High School in Huntington opened its doors to the high school students from Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, Russell, and Worthington; and, in 1970, a "Middle School" was added there.
Attractive features of Worthington are its Golf Club, organized in 1904; its water system, installed in 1910; its volunteer fire department founded in 1946; and its Health Center, organized in 1950, used by the residents of Cummington, Chesterfield, Ashfield, Peru, Plainfield, and Huntington as well as Worthington. There are now summer concerts in the historic South Worthington Academy Building, brought to the town by the Robert Schrade Family, the "Sevenars." A Swim and Tennis Club and Rod and Gun Club are hospitable here. The Town Library, staffed by volunteers and student aides, has its hours posted on its door.
The government of the Town is authorized and organized in an annual Town Meeting held the first Saturday in May. Residents may register as voters by applying to the Town Clerk, whose office hours are posted on the door of the Town Hall.
Much of this history was taken from an account written by Carl S. Joslyn and Lois Ashe Brown that appeared in the Worthington Bicentennial Booklet. A copy of this booklet and a map of the Town drawn by Mrs. Brown may be purchased at the Library, and a guide to some of the Town's interesting houses, prepared for the Bicentennial, is also available.
Note: Black & White photographs on this page were supplied by Ted Porter, Sam Hill Road, Worthington and are displayed here with his permission. Ted's Father, Dan Porter, appears in many of the photos.
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