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Walking guide map (JPG, 146k)
HOLDER MEMORIAL (View a photo of Holder Memorial)
210 Church Street - The Holder Memorial was built by Francis T. Holder as a memorial to his parents, David and Ruth Bassett Holder. The edifice was built for the immediate occupancy of the Clinton Historical Society, which was looking for a permanent residence. F.T. Holder was raised in Clintonville, which is now Clinton, so what better place for a tribute to his parents. The underlying architectural style is American Colonial Revival.
BIGELOW FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY (View a photo of the Bigelow Library)
54 Walnut Street - Built in 1902, this building was intended for occupancy by the Bigelow Free Public Library. The existing library grew out of what was once the Bigelow Mechanics Institute, a private club where only men could gather to talk or read. In 1873 the Institute was dissolved and the Library Association was formed. After a long decrease in growth, the Association voted to donate all their worth to the Town of Clinton in order to form a public library organization. The Bigelow Free Public Library was thus established in 1877 and has occupied the Flemish edifice since 1902.
TOWN HALL (View a photo of Town Hall)
242 Church Street - Built in 1909 at a cost of $125,000, it is Clinton's second town hall. The first was destroyed by fire at the turn of the century. There is an auditorium at the rear of the building, which is used for various functions, including town meetings. In 1977, former President Jimmy Carter led such a meeting when he visited the town during his nationwide "town meeting" campaign. A commissioned statue of Abe Lincoln stands in the grande foyer. The lot was purchased by the town treasurer from H.N. Bigelow for $4,000 in the mid-nineteenth century.
FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH (View a photo of the church)
250 Church Street - The oldest standing church in Clinton, the building was erected in 1853, three years after The First Unitarian Society of Clinton was organized. The land was donated by Henry Fairbanks, a partner in The Bigelow Carpet Company. The first level was added at a later date, requiring the original structure to be raised. The architectural style is 19th Century Americana.
A.A. BURDETT RESIDENCE
260 Church Street - The house was built in 1852 by Oliver Stone, a local contractor, for Henry Kellogg. Kellogg was a director of the Clinton Gas Light Company and also a key contributor to The Bigelow Carpet Company during the 1840's and 1850's. In 1867 Alfred A. Burdett bought the house. Burdett was a local druggist between the years 1850 and 1866. It has remained a private residence until 1973, when it was bought and served as a drugstore. It is presently a private residence again. The architectural style is Victorian.
GILBERT GREENE ESTATE (View a photo of the Estate)
Note: This building was razed in October 2007.
239 Chestnut Street - The Gilbert Greene Estate was originally built in 1845 by G.P. Smith for Horatio N. Bigelow, one owner of The Bigelow Carpet Company. The house was later sold to Gilbert Greene, a local jeweler. Greene was also a selectman in Clinton for four years, one of the original vice presidents of Clinton Savings Bank, and an original director of the First National Bank. The building is currently being used as the Clinton Post of the American Legion, and named after James R. Kirby, Post 50, who was Clinton's first casualty in World War I.
FOSTER HOME (View a photo of the Foster Home)
271 Church Street - Built in 1882 for John R. Foster, a wealthy merchant. Mr. Foster maintained a chain of 27 clothing stores throughout New England. His second wife, Catherine Harlow, later served as a member of the corporation that formed the Clinton Home for Aged People. After Mr. Foster's death, Dr. Walter P. Bowers purchased the estate in 1909. He, in turn, gave it to the Corporation of the Clinton Home for Aged People, stipulating that in return he be paid $350 per year during the remainder of his lifetime. It presently serves as an area for senior-related functions. All the charm has been preserved, including the ornamental paintings in the front hall and the many types of carved wood adorning each room. The exterior is an example of "Stick Style" Victorian architecture.
CLINTON COMMON (CENTRAL PARK) (View a photo of Central Park)
Bounded by Walnut, Union, Chestnut and Church Streets - Given to the Town of Clinton by Horatio N. Bigelow in 1852. The four-acre lot carried an amended stipulation that it be used only as a Common and that it not be used as a building lot. There are two war monuments. One dedicated to those Clinton residents who served their country in the Spanish-American War is located on the east side and the other, a Civil War monument, is on the west side of the park. A sundial can be found on the south side and a water fountain on the north side of the park. Incidentally, the original Foster Fountain was destroyed by the Hurricane of 1938 and replaced by one given by the Lions Club in 1961. In 2000, a replica of the original fountain was dedicated at Clinton's Olde Home Days.
FRANKLIN FORBES RESIDENCE
185 Chestnut Street - The Victorian house was built in 1851 for Franklin Forbes after he became the agent at Lancaster Mills. Under Mr. Forbes' guidance, the Mill became the largest producer of gingham cloth in the world. He also contributed much to the growth of Clinton by persuading the Lancaster Mills employees to build their homes in Clinton. Subsequently, construction in the area boomed in the 1860's and 1870's, particularly in The Acre and Germantown. Mr. Forbes was also very active in local politics, serving one term in the State Legislature in 1864 and more than 10 years as Chairman of the School Committee. The Forbes School on Wilson Street, which served the community for nearly 60 years, was built in his honor in 1911, but has since been demolished.
FIRST UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (View a photo of the church)
173 Chestnut Street - After failed attempts to organize a congregation from 1878 through 1885, the group officially organized on February 6, 1893. The land was purchased in 1893 from the Bigelow estate, the building of which still sits behind the church. The church was dedicated in 1894 and the congregation grew at a steady pace. The building saw many renovations in the following years, including the original floor being raised 6 feet.
HORATIO N. BIGELOW RESIDENCE
Horatio, along with his brother Erastus, were largely responsible for the industrial and economic growth of Clintonville and later the Town of Clinton. He helped found such companies as The Clinton Company, Lancaster Mills and The Bigelow Carpet Company. The Bigelow Estate once overlooked the Bigelow Carpet Mills, allowing Horatio to keep a watchful eye on his investments. Since then, matured trees and new construction have blocked the view. The Victorian manor is now used as St. John's Rectory.
CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
209 Union Street - Home of the Episcopal faith, it was built in 1876. In 1853, its followers wanted to bring the church to Clinton but the Bishop of Massachusetts, Bishop Eastburn, refused permission because he was unsure of the faltering state of Worcester's newly founded All Saints Parish, which seemed unlikely to enjoy a promising future. In 1885, the Clinton parish discontinued its receipt of mission funds and became a self-supporting parish. The original building has been greatly enlarged and renovated.
BIGELOW MECHANICS INSTITUTE
203 Union Street - Built in 1853, the building was built to house the Bigelow Mechanics Institute, a private men's club. The Institute shared the building by renting out space to the postal service and local businesses from 1853 to 1873. Previously this pre-Victorian building has served as tenements and now it is home to the Museum of Russian Icons, which contains a world-class collection of art.
OLD COURTHOUSE AND POLICE STATION
195 Union Street - Built in 1859, the building first served as Horatio Bigelow's private office and for many years housed the Clinton Savings Bank until it moved into the Bank Building on the corner of Church and High Streets. Since 1894 the newly incorporated Clinton Historical Society operated within these walls until the Holder Memorial was built in 1904. The building also served as the Second District Court of Eastern Worcester County from 1886 to 1972, when it moved into its new home on Route 70. The building also housed the Clinton Police Station, which was located on the lower level facing Mechanic Street from 1886 to 1969. Since 1977 this modified Victorian building has served as law offices.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
14 Walnut Street - After flocking to a much smaller church on another site, the congregation moved their home to the present site. This was necessitated by an expanded Baptist following. The cost of the 1849 building was $6,000. Growing pains following the Civil War demanded renovation and expansion of the church. This building remained undisturbed until an 1890's fire destroyed it. A new church was raised in response and it too met the same fate in 1934. The existing church was built in 1936.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (View a photo of the church)
34 Walnut Street - After moving from a previous site, this is the second church at this location. The first church on this site was made possible in 1847 by a generous donation from H.N. Bigelow. Just twelve years later, the building was renovated due to the growing congregation. In 1892 the present structure was built. The beautiful stained glass windows were donated by a group of Chinese laborers who were building the Wachusett Dam at the time. The bell tower is a landmark in Clinton history, for it was custom for the bell to be rung one half hour before all town meetings. Certain features of American Gothic architecture are prevalent.
CORCORAN SCHOOL (View a photo of Corcoran School)
52 Walnut Street - Built in 1895 in honor of Judge John Corcoran, the building served as a grammar school until its closing in 1975. What is more significant however, is that this is the site of the first Clinton High School. The high school was founded by the Bigelows to educate the wealthier faction of the Clinton populace, since there was very little quality education in the area at that time. In recent years, the building has been completely renovated and is now Corcoran House, an assisted living facility.
ORIGINAL POST OFFICE
203 Church Street - Built in 1885, it was the location of Clinton's first post office. Upstairs was once rented to the "Prescott Club", a private club for businessmen. In the 1940's, the "Liberty Club", an Italian-American organization, bought the building. It is currently used for retail and office space. Interior renovations were done in 1987. This building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, along with the rest of the commercial district of Church Street.
BANK BLOCK (View a photo of the Bank Block)
79 High Street - This building was constructed in 1881 to be occupied by the two local banks, Clinton Savings Bank and the First National Bank of Clinton, which later became the Clinton Trust Co. , the Worcester County Trust Co. , and the the Worcester County National Bank . The two banks worked together amicably until legislation forbade banks to share the same quarters. With this new law, the building was divided in two. Clinton Savings Bank moved into its new quarters in 1929. Banks to occupy the space over the years include Shawmut Bank, Fleet Bank and presently Sovereign Bank New England.
CLINTON SAVINGS BANK
200 Church Street - Built in 1929, this building serves as permanent home for one half of the original Clinton banking establishment. Banking history in Clinton can be traced back to when there was only one bank. Clinton Savings Bank was originally located at Lancaster Mills, and then at 195 Union Street. When the Bank Building was built in 1881, the two banks moved there and consequently shared the same quarters. In 1929 demand for more space led to the construction of the building. Expansion and renovation of this structure was completed in 1987.
High Street - For many years, this row of turn of the century buildings was used as commercial and residential space. They were renovated between 1985 and 1988 with the same functions in mind. The names of the individual buildings are Brimhall, Oxford, Philbin, Bigelow and O'Toole. All of these buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
COULTER PRESS BUILDING
156 Church Street - The Coulter family owned and operated a local press, which published several publications, chief among them being the Clinton Courant. The Courant was founded in 1865 and was terminated in 1902. The Clinton Daily Item, founded in 1893, is now called the Clinton Item and still serves the local community. The Coulter Press formerly operated from a neighborhood building but now makes this 1902 edifice its home.
OLD FIRE STATION
Lower Church Street - Built in 1898, this was Clinton's second fire station. A third station was built on the adjacent lot in 1983.
NELSON STREET TENEMENT HOUSES (View a photo of the Nelson Street tenements)
Nelson Street - Now upscale condominiums, this row of buildings used to be tenement homes for the Bigelow Carpet Mill workers. An underground tunnel would allow the workers to directly access the Mill from their living quarters during the colder winter months.
BIGELOW CARPET MILL
Union Street - Built in the 1840's, the mill complex was the first of its kind. It was the first mill to employ the world's first power loom for the weaving of carpet, invented by Erastus Bigelow in the 1840's. This machine revolutionized the carpet industry, making it a household item for the common man, instead of a luxury item for the rich only. The Mill sat vacant for many years after the Bigelow Carpet Co. closed its doors due to the effect of the Great Depression. The mills have since been occupied by several companies, with the original character of the buildings still intact.
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CHURCH (View a photo of St. John's Church)
80 Union Street - Completed in 1886, this Romanesque building supercedes two previous St. John's buildings in Clinton. An influx of Irish immigrants to the Clinton area in the late 1840's increased the Roman Catholic population by great proportions, attributing to the building's large size.
Information taken from "Historic Clinton, a Walking Guide", © 1988 by Sean C. Collins, Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Revitalization Committee. Some items have been updated to reflect recent historical changes.