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Winchester Town


Winchester Town Hall is located at 71 Mt. Vernon Street, Winchester, MA 01890; phone: 781-721-7133.

O.W. Gardner House, ca. 1840, 5 Myrtle Street, Winchester, MA, National Register

Photo: O.W. Gardner House, ca. 1840, 5 Myrtle Street, Winchester, MA Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Photographed by User:Magicpiano (own work), 2919, [cc-by-3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed April, 2013.

Winchester as described in 1937 [1]

Winchester was settled in 1640 and incorporated in 1850. It was named, successively Woburn Gates, South Woburn and Black Horse Village. Its present name came from Colonel Winchester, a Watertown businessman who presented his municipal namesake with $3,000. Edward Convers, called "the Father of Winchester," erected a grist mill utilizing the power of the Aberjona River.

On the site of this mill was built in 1839, a plant housing various enterprises, among them those of Joel Whitney and Amos Whittemore. Whitney built machinery for making veneers; Whittemore introduced machinery for pegging shoes, an innovation that forced him to raise the wages of his women binders because of the hostility to machine production felt by his competitors, the old-fashioned shoemakers. The plant was bought by the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in 1929.

By 1860 three tanneries were in operation, and by the end of the century the manufacture of leather had become important. The Mackey Metallic Fastener Corporation, established in 1893, absorbed in time by the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, attracted many workers, causing a building boom. Today the town is largely residential, and only a few long-established factories continue to operate, producing leather uppers, gelatin, watch hands and felt products.

A prominent resident was Edwin Ginn, who founded the great schoolbook publishing house and made a million-dollar gift with which was created the World Peace Foundation. Another resident was Samuel McCall, editor, author of biographies of Thaddeus Stevens and Thomas B. Reed, and Governor of Massachusetts (1916-1919).

The Winchester Public Library, Washington Street, and Mystic Valley Parkway, a structure of stone and half timber, built in 1930, houses a small museum.

A marker at the intersection of Washington and Forest Streets identifies the John Harvard Land.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for Massachusetts, Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People, American Guide Series, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1937.
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