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Woburn, Massachusetts

WOBURN, MASSACHUSETTS, a city of Middlesex county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 10 m. W. by N.W. of Boston. Pop. (1800) 13,499; (1900) 14,254, of whom 3840 were foreign-born and 261 were negroes; (1910, U.S. census) 15,308. Area, 12-6 sq. m. Woburn is served by the southern division of the Boston & Maine railway, and is connected with Burlington, Lexington, Reading, Stoneham , Wilmington, Winchester, Arlington, Boston and Lowell by electric railways. In the city area are several villages, including Woburn proper, known as " the Centre," North Woburn, Woburn Highlands, Curnmingsville (in the western part), Mishawum (in the north-east), Montvale (in the east) and Walnut Hill (also in the east). There are two ancient burying-grounds; the oldest, on Park Street, dates from about 1642 and contains the graves of ancestors of four presidents Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Franklin Pierce and Garfield and a granite obelisk to the memory of Loammi Baldwin (1744-1807). On Academy Hill is the Warren Academy building used by a Free Industrial School. Forest Park (53 acres) is a fine stretch of natural woods, and there are several small parks and squares; on Woburn Common is the Public Library, by H. H. Richardson, the gift of Charles Winn. The building houses an art gallery and historical museum, and a library of about 50,000 volumes especially rich in Americana. Among colonial bouses still standing are the birthplace of Count Rumford (in North Woburn), built about 1714, and now preserved by the Rumfcrd Historical Association as a depository for the Rumford Library and historical memorials, and the Baldwin mansion (built partly in 1661 and later enlarged), the home of Loammi Baldwin (1780-1838), known as " the father of civil engineering in America." Woburn's manufactories are concentrated within a small area. The city is the most important leather manufacturing centre of New England: in 1905 the value of the leather product was $2,851,554, being 61-3% of the value of all factory products ($4,654,067); other manufactures are chemicals, leather-working machinery, boots and shoes, glue and cotton goods. Market gardening is an important industry.

Woburn, first settled about 1638-1640, was incorporated as a township under its present name in 1642, and was the first township set off from Charlestown. It then included a large part of the present Winchester and the greater part of the present Wilmington and Burlington, separately organized in 1730 and 1799 respectively. It was named after Woburn in Bedfordshire by its chief founder, Edward Johnson (1590-1672), whose work, The Wonder-Working Providence of Zion's Saviour (1654; latest ed. 1910), was one of the earliest historical accounts of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The leather industry was established by David Cummings at Curnmingsville shortly before the War of Independence. Woburn's industrial growth dates from the construction through the township of the old Middlesex Canal. The city was chartered in 1888.

See P. L. Converse, Legends of Woburn, 1642-1892 (2 vols., Woburn, 1892-1896) ; Samuel Sewall, History of Woburn, 1640 to 1860 (Boston, 1868); F. E. Wetherell, Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Woburn (Woburn, 1892); and G. M. Champney in S. A. Drake's History of Middlesex County (2 vols., Boston, 1880).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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