Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth", thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may also have its provenance in lore that the Valentine's Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Esther Howland who resided in Worcester.
Worcester was considered its own distinct region apart from Boston until the 1970s. Since then, Boston's suburbs have been moving out further westward, especially after the construction of Interstate 495 and Interstate 290. The Worcester region now marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Providence (MA-RI-NH) U.S. Census Combined Statistical Area (CSA), or Greater Boston. The city features many examples of Victorian-era mill architecture. It is home of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Worcester has a total area of 38.6 square miles (100 km²), 37.6 square miles (97 km²) of land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km²) (roughly 2.59%) of water. Worcester is bordered by the towns of Auburn, Grafton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Paxton, Shrewsbury, and West Boylston. Worcester is known as the Heart of the Commonwealth, because of its proximity to the center of Massachusetts. The city is about 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield, and 38 miles (61 km) northwest of Providence, Rhode Island.
The Blackstone River forms in the center of Worcester by the confluence of the Middle River and Mill Brook. The river courses underground through the center of the city, and emerges at the foot of College Hill. It then flows south through Quinsigamond Village and into Millbury. Worcester is the beginning of the Blackstone Valley that frames the river. The Blackstone Canal was once an important waterway connecting Worcester to Providence and the Eastern Seaboard, but the canal fell into disuse at the end of the 19th century and was mostly covered up. In recent years, local organizations including the Canal District Business Association have proposed restoring the canal and creating a Blackstone Valley National Park.
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