Mechanics Hall


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History

By 1857, it was clear the Worcester County Mechanics Association required a building of its own, having outgrown its rented spaces. Under the guidance of wire industrialist Ichabod Washburn, the Mechanics hired Elbridge Boyden to design and construct the building. When it was finished Mechanics Hall represented the state-of-the-art in mechanical systems and construction techniques. Mechanics Hall is testimony to the skill and ingenuity of the artisans and tradesmen of Worcester County, which defined them as the founders of America's Industrial Revolution.

Mechanics Hall has been judged by architectural historians as the nation's finest pre-Civil War concert hall. For more than 150 years, the Hall has been the cultural cornerstone of Central Massachusetts. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. During the mid-20th Century, other newer venues overtook it as the favored place to host events. The Association resorted to renting out the Hall for professional wrestling matches, roller skating, basketball, dance lessons, 4-H club meetings, and a variety of other sporting and community events. Misuse and neglect of the interior took a serious toll on the health of the Hall, but, when the decision was finally forced to tear it down or to revitalize it, the entire city rallied, raising $5 million to restore the Hall.

Architect: Elbridge Boyden, 1857
1977 building renovation, Anderson Notter Finegold, Inc. Additional renovations, Lamoureux Pagano & Associates, Whipple Construction Co.

Historic Timeline

  • 1842 Worcester County Mechanics Association Established
  • 1857 Mechanics Hall Dedicated, March 19th
  • 1859 First Worcester Music Festival
  • 1864 Hook Organ Installed
  • 1866-1927 Men's Portraits
  • 1953 Women Members
  • 1973 National Register of Historic Places
  • 1977 Mechanics Hall Re-Dedicated; Phase I Restoration Completed
  • 1978 Boyden Salon
  • 1982 Hook Organ Restored
  • 1986 Fuller Wing
  • 1991 Washburn Hall Restored
  • 1999 Women's Portraits
  • 2000 Promenade Refurbished
  • 2002 Façade Restored
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