Archive - Worcester Revisited

Site Map for WorcesterWeb

Worcester County History & Trivia Page
Elizabeth Fernandez
Glen Gardner
Jean Howard, Worcester
Jimbo from California, looking for Cheryl Brown
Gail Johnson, "Almost from Worcester"
Christian Knight, Australia
Anna Livingston - Looking for Madeline LeBlanc Greenwood Watkins
Warren Nelson, Worcester
Roland Olson, Worcester
Roland Olson, Second Edition, Worcester
Stephanie Rice, Ayer
David Zukerman

Glen Gardner
Currently from Madison, WI

Greetings from the Mad City! I was born in Worcester in 1956 and spent the first 20 years of my life there. I have some very fond memories of the city and the people there.

Some of my best memories are of the area around Water Street. As a teenager I worked at the Broadway and marveled at the people who would come in there. Mostly immigrants and merchants from the area.

It was like working at the United Nations. Conversations in several languages always going on at once. Spanish, Yiddish, Greek and several others all at once. I can still remember the great smells from the bakeries and spas on that street.

>From the Broadway I went to work at WAAB/WAAF radio in Worcester. It was the early days of FM and WAAF was a truely unique radio station at the time. We would get on an play whole sides of albums with very few commercials. It was a lot of fun and well received by the people of Worcester.

It was the start of a great career. I went on to work at radio stations in New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and Wisconsin. I now manage three radio stations in Madison, Wisconsin, and always run into people from Worcester.

I guy I grew up with near Tatnuck Square runs a Mustard Museum out here (Barry Levinson, Mount Horeb Mustard Museum)and another guy I knew operates a chain of coffee houses (Victor Mondry).

I'm hoping to get back to Worcester at some point in the near future.

Glen Gardner

Elizabeth Fernandez

I was born in Worcester in 1978. I lived on Eastern Ave until 1994. I went to Belmont Street School, an Worcester East Middle. I graduated from North High School, and am now a junior at Umass Amherst.

I am in search of anyone one that may have lived on Eastern Ave between the years of 1982 and 1994. My family met a lot of people in the years that they lived in Worcester.

Both of my parents came from Cuba in the mid 70's and met many people that helped them. I would like to meet some of these people, however they moved away before I could remember. If you lived near 118 Eastern Ave between 1974 and 1994 please email me. I would love to hear from you. My address is

Gail Johnson

"Almost from Worcester"

I'm not originally from Worcester but I will always feel like I am. I fell in love for the first time in Worcester and even though we only stayed together for five years I still cherish all of our memories. Well I geuss Im done but remember Worcester is for lovers!



I was born and raised in Worcester and in the summer of 1968 my family moved to this God forsaken state they call California. I still hate it and would be glad to see Worcester again. I now live in Northern CA. I just saw an article when surfing the Worcester web page that made my hair stand on end. It was the old train station. My Grand parents owned a house that sat on the hill right above the train station. It sat right on top of the hill and as you went down the stairs in the house basements you would go down the hill to aproxamility half way down the hill. It had about four or five different basements and they were each separated into a few rooms. My Grand farther raised chickens in one of the basements and we would always have fresh chicken when we went over there.

I plan to come home soon and would love to see some of the old crowd from my old neaborhood. I would Really love to see an old friend I went to school with. Her maiden name was Cheryl Brown but the last time I was home was in 1970 or so and she was married so I don't know where I could begin to find her. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to e-mail me at

Jean Howard

Worcester, MA

I was born and raised in Worcester and I have many memories of Worcester, but there is only one true memory that will always stay with me, so here goes........

When I was a little girl I always loved the 4th of July, because my mother and I would always pack a great picnic and head for Green Hill Park just off Lincoln Street, where we could swim and have a great time till it as time for the Fireworks. There would be all kinds of games and contests for the kids, and one would always meet other peole who one would not normally see ecept for this day. They had they best firework displays that would out-do any of the ones we have now.

I recall how as soon as it started getting dark, everyone who was there would grab the best place they could for the best viewing (which always seemed to be on the Hill) and as soon as the lights went out, the MC would ask all the people around the pond to light their lighters or sparklers, so the people on the hill could see what it looked like, then after the people on the hill did the same. What a light-show. Then we all would do it together (hill and pond area) and that was really a treat. When the first rocket would go off, many ooh's and ahh's filled the park, and they would last forever, along with the booms that echoed after.

The best part was the Grand Finale because it would last for at least a half-hour(it felt like it did) and them you could see everyone who was there. I think it was the entire city. The cheers and applause were tremendous and finally on the ground there was a firework that was shaped in the flag that seemed to last forever. I have ever to this day seen a fiework display that matched the ones when I was little. Does anyone else remember them???

Christian Knight

Armidale, NSW, Australia

Well this surely isn't a Worcester story, but it does have connections. My dad, John Russell Knight, grew up in Worcester. He tells me very little about his 'early days' but I am keen to find out more, especially about my grandparents who both died before I was born. They were Russell Cushman Knight and Olive May Warren - and I guess they lived there until the late 40s. My dad went to Korea to serve and then came to Australia, his name is John Russell Knight, and I guess he's aged about 70. I printed out this page and he had trouble remembering some of the sights mentioned, but I'm sure he enjoyed your memories. A couple of years back my dad and mum went to Worcester to visit the house they grew up in (sorry, I don't know the street) and the people there, inquistive I guess as to whther the 'olds were casing the joint' invited them in. I know it was a very special occasion for my dad, and like some of the correspondents he was amazed at the changes to both the house and the city. Hopefully some of you 'old timers' will read this and maybe remember my grandparents - she was apparently a fair hand on the piano and grandpa I think maybe an academic. My dad was a top downhill skier as was his brother, who died at the sport. Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you've got this far, and g'day from Downunder!

Warren Nelson

Reading about Blueberry hill and other tails reminds me of my days in Greendale. Thats near Blueberry Hill too. I workd for a time at Sammy Gows Golf range. I remeber the time that Sammy added lights for a bit of night golf. Sammy also had a bow and arrow range for a while.

Some times I plade a round of golf with George the Greek. He always shot par or better. George also ran a coner stor on Westboylson Street at Fales Street. George made the best cheeze burgers in the world.

I also rember "Pepper" Hanson, our news boy. He delivered the paper on time even the night of the 1938 hurricane. Our house lost its roof that night.

I also rember durring the war when a couple of Navy planes used the Norton Company smoke stack as a pilon and did a bit of fancy flying.

Any one remeber Mr. Holmquist in the manual traing school on Westboylstob Stree

I just read Roland E. Olson story about Worcester. Roland is an older hacker. However it is nice to know that there is another person that remembers "Blueberry Hill." I lived to the south side of that hill on Hanson Ave off of Ararat St. I wonder if he remebers Sammy Gows golf range near the hill.

I have lived here in Worcester for ages and only left for the Korean war. I too was in the Navy. Now I am retired.

Stephanie Rice

When I was born, I was diagnosed with a rare intestinal disorder. None of the local doctors in the Gardner/Winchendon/Fitchburg area knew how to treat it, so I was sent to UMASS Medical Center in Worcester on an outpatient basis. I remember the long drive into Worcester. We would take a long and windy road through the back woods of Royalston and Templeton. Worcester was a giant to me. So busy and exciting. UMASS looked so big too me compared to all the small buildings in Winchendon. "Henry Heywood Hospital" in Gardner was nothing compared to the size of UMASS.I remember passing a bicycle shop with a mural painted on the side of the wall. Next to that was a tuxedo shop. That's how I knew that we were almost "there". UMASS was the only hospital that was able to help find a cure for my disorder. When I was little I actually dreamed of going to school at UMASS to become an Orthopedic surgeon. Maybe I can still fulfill that dream someday.I live in Ayer now, and I work close to Boston, but Worcester will always be "my" city.

David Zukerman

I lived on Heywood St. as a youngster (I'm 77) In my back yard was a large rock with the imprint that a family named Smith were the first white settlers murdered on this site by the Indians.

Roland E. Olson

About 10 years ago, I briefly passed through Worcester after a 30 year absence and have yet to recoup from the trauma of that experience.

During high school, I had set my sights on a career in broadcasting (which in those days was limited to "radio"--the only pictures were in your mind). However, fate intervened and I left Worcester prior to my graduation ceremony to serve in the US Navy during the closing days of World War 2. (Gosh! I didn't know anyone was that old!) Having left a boy, I returned a man and set out upon my continuing education in Boston after working a while in the offices of the Norton Company in Greendale while waiting for an opening. After graduating, I stepped into my first job in broadcasting at a small station in Laconia, NH.

My longest return to Worcester was around 1950 to 52 when I worked as an engineer for radio station WAAB. My fondest memories were working live big band remotes from pavillions at Lake Quinsigamond. However, my favorite was a weekly country-western show hosted by the late "Pappy Howard" (Howard Handy) with whom I became dear friends. Another unforgettable experience was doing live polka band pickups from the Polish National Alliance hall. To this day, I have never met a finer group of people or seen anyone dance the polka with more vigor than they. In fact, I nearly got myself killed when I contemplated setting up my equipment on the main dance floor. The people I met during those days might be friends to this day had not fate again intervened.

This time it was the Korean war and rather abruptly, I was recalled to the Navy and served on the flagship of Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea. Upon my return, it was off to Boston to work a summer at WBZ, and then to the Columbia Broadcasting System in Washington, D.C. Specializing in remote broadcasts, there I worked closely with many dignitaries of the time and was honored to serve as Assistant CBS Presidential Engineer during the term of President Eisenhower. My daily duties regularly took me to the Capitol, White House or on Presidential trips.

Durng this time, I frequently returned to Worcester since my parents still lived there. However, with the onset of computerized automation, I decided to join them rather than fight, and accepted an engineering position with a Florida based firm. Since my fatheer had then retired from the Postal service, I convinced my parents to also leave Worcester to be near me in Florida. There they remained for the rest of their lives.

After 10 years or so of designing computeer controlled telemetry systems for the military, I went into the field as a scientific computer systems analyst and ended up living in California for 20 years. Working with customers at most of the military test ranges, most of my time was spent with the Air Force and NASA at Edwards Air Force Base where systems were installed to flight test such aircraft as the F15, F16, A10 and also the re-entry software for retrieval of the Space Shuttle at Edwards. As time went on, I became a national manager for the Florida based firm and subsequently went out on my own, subcontracting as a computer engineering consultant.

During those years, I traveled extensively to or through 49 of our 50 states. It was somewhere in the mid to late 80's, while on a business trip to Boston, that I drove my rental car to Worcestrer after an absence of 30 yeas. Stopping by my childhood home, I was stunned as the 1920 vintage house that my father had sold cheap had been completely remodeled and the neighborhood had grown from "the sticks" on a private, dirt street to populated suburbs with paved roads. A long stone's throw from the house was an insterstate highway where I had once played in the quiet fields and peaceful wooded glen.

Main street was vaguely familiar (thank God the City Hall was still there), but looking across the street, I could not find the John C. McInnes department store where I had worked after hours during high school. In shock, with my head literally spinning, I retreated from town and headed back to Boston without as much as saying hello to anyone.

That was nearly 10 years ago now. Having reached the dubious distinction of being "over qualified" for the competative busines world. Florida retirement sounded like a great idea. However, after so many years of being continually on the go, I don't seem to be able to turn off my motor.

There comes a time in life when the tendency is to look back with increasing frequency. Perhaps I have reached that point, though I look forward to at least another 30 years of productivity. If George Burns could do it, so can I. Working with children at a county recreation center, for a time I was content to utilize my computer system in my spare time to write about some of the experiences of a way of life that has all but faded from existence. Then came the Internet which provided the means to do something I have always wanted to do, and that is to go back to look up old friends and perhaps find new ones. Consequently, I was delighted to find your Worcester home page and plan to regularly check in to see what is going on. Who knows, I might even find someone whose memory goes back further than mine.

However, even more thrilling is the prospect of visiting Worcester without ever straying from my

[[At this point, my ex-ISP, Telerama, lost the rest of the file. My apologies to Roland, Helen and Ted who took the time to contribute some material. Please try it again!]]

Second Edition, Roland E. Olson

After reviewing some of the responses to my initial article on this page, I have timidly come to the conclusion that I am the oldest living Worcester born hacker alive. Would some one please come forth and prove me wrong!

When I was growing up, there was an elaborate system of rails running throughout Worcester County over which the most modern in public transportation ran, the electric "street car". The engines in these vehicles derived their power via a trolley which made contact with an overhead electrified wire. It was a popular form of transportation, for not everyone could yet afford one of the new "horseless carriages". In fact, on a given day along Main Street, the cobblestone thoroughfare teamed with a conglomeration of street cars, automobiles, horse drawn carriages and pedestrians (who took care where they stepped).

In the Summit section of the city, there was a huge trestle which spanned the railroad tracks parallelling West Boylston Street over which the street car creaked before stopping at the end of the line, just the other side of Maldin Steet. A less seldom used spur line ran on to West Boylston.

As a kid, I loved to stand at the Summit and watch a train with tandem steam locomotives sweep under the roadway bridge which momentarily trapped most of the smoke and steam. Then, as the train emerged on the other side, the smoke violently billowed forth, giving the appearance that the bridge had been blown up. It was at the Summit that I attended Kindergarten in the small, one room, red brick schoolhouse before moving up to the awesome Grammar School on Burncoat Street. No (as has been suggested), I was not the first occupant of the Kindergarten taught my Miss White, for I understood that before my time, the small structure had been the entire elementary school of the area. (Is there anyone around that can prove that?...please!)

The "walk" to school was a mile long hike down (and later the same day, up) the steep slope of West Mountain Street, skirting Blueberry Hill (Thanks, Helen, for providing the name) on my way home to Maravista Road. The later was a short, private, dirt road which, at certain seasons of the year, became virtually impassible (as did Mountain Street).

During the winter season, the kids would all precariously perch atop their metal lunch boxes and slide all the way down the icy surface of Mountain St. on their way to school. There was skiing on Blueberry hill, and for a time, even a lift. During the summer, it's distinctive, cleared pie shaped wedge was the setting for becoming lost to the world amidst the tall, wavy grass. From the top of that hill, I could see all of my then known world. At the base of its western slope was a glen with a fast running brook and all manner of swamp fauna in the marsh.

Returning briefly to Worcester about 10 years ago after an absense of 30 years, I literally went into shock to find an Interstate highway running through that glen. Mountain Street had been improved and the steep slope somewhat tempered. Maravista Road was now a paved street and my birthplace (which my parents had considered obsolete when they sold it) had been beautifully restored and remodeled. The wavy grass on "my" hill had given way to condominiums or apartments.

At that time, I was living in California and was on a business trip to Boston. Having some time on my hands, I had driven my rental car to Worcester. If the above were not bad enough, I found Main Street, but had it not been for the City Hall, you could have convinced me that I was in the wrong town. While in high school, I had worked at the John C. McInnes Company (across Main Street from the City Hall), but it was gone! After a few hours of this, I fled Worcester, my head in a spin.

Some time later, I sent a letter to the High School of Commerce inquiring about a 50th anniversary reunion (Class of '45 -- there, now I've said it!). The letter was returned marked, "no such address". I assume that it is also gone. Am I correct?

However, now I have found a much less traumatic way to visit Worcester whenever I wish by simply dialing up one of the home pages on the Internet. Fantastic! Next, I would like to find some of the names in my high school yearbook. Is anyone still home?

Leaving Worcester to serve in the Navy during the closing days of World War 2, I returnd only briefly and worked in the Norton Company while waiting for school in Boston. Embarking on a career in broadcasting, I returned to serve on the staff of WAAB for a time around 1950. Then it was off to the Sea of Japan for a "Police Action" called the Korean war. That was the last time I would call Worcester home.

Returning to Mass., I worked at WBZ in Boston for a summer and then Joined CBS in Washington, D.C. Specializing in remote broadcasts, there I worked closely with many dignitaries of the time and was honored to serve as Assistant CBS Presidential Engineer during the term of President Eisenhower.

Subsequently, I accepted an engineering position with a Florida based firm and after 10 years in Sarasota, was transferred as a Scientific Computer Systems Analyst to California to work under contract to the military and NASA at the many test ranges in the area. Evenually, I went out on my own as a Computer Consultant to the government. During that 20 year stretch, I traveled extensively and it was on one of those ventures that I made the traumatic visit back to Worcester.

There comes a time in life when the tendency is to look back with increasing frequency. Perhaps I have reached that point, though I look forward to at least another 30 years of productivity. If George Burns could do it, so can I. Now living in Florida, for a time I was content to utilize my computer system to write about some of the experiences of a way of life that has all but faded from existence. Then came the Internet which provided the means to do something I have always wanted to do, and that is to go back to look up old friends and perhaps find new ones.

However, even more thrilling is the prospect of visiting Worcester without ever straying from my study. After all, I'm not sure I'm ready for another trauma like the last one. It was enough to find that the huge "mountain" of West Mountain Street was only a little hill.

Yet, in retrospect, it "was" a mountain; I just know it was!

Other Stories by Ronald Olson

Anna Livingston - Looking for Madeline LeBlanc Greenwood Watkins

On April 30, 1952 Carl William LeBlanc was born to Madeline LeBlanc in Framingham Massachusetts. When Carl was two years old he was taken from his mother by the state. Carl spent six years in foster homes. In 1960 Carl was placed at the McAuley Nazareth Home For Boys.

Madeline LeBlanc was married to a Daniel Greenwood, believed to be Carl's father, in 1953. They were divorced in 1956. Madeline married a Donald Watkins in 1957.

Madeline was born in New Brunswick Canada July 29, 1930. She was one of ten children and grew up in Mass.

Madeline LeBlanc is my grandmother. I assume she had other children. They may not know about Carl. I would like the chance to meet my grandmother or any of my other relatives. I have just found out that I am pregnant. So Madeline is about to be a great grandmother if she wasn't already. I would like for my child to be able to meet his or her great grandmother. Please contact me if you know Madeline or anyone related to her.

Should Madeline read this I would like to say I love you grandma. Please send me E-mail: