Gardner, Massachusetts

Gardner is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 20,228 at the 2010 census. Gardner is home to Dunn State Park, Gardner Heritage State Park, Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mount Wachusett Community College.

Gardner, Massachusetts
Skyline of Gardner, Massachusetts
Flag of Gardner, Massachusetts

Chair City[1]
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Gardner, Massachusetts is located in the United States
Gardner, Massachusetts
Gardner, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°34′30″N 71°59′55″W / 42.57500°N 71.99861°WCoordinates: 42°34′30″N 71°59′55″W / 42.57500°N 71.99861°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor-council city
 • MayorMark P. Hawke (R)[2][3]
 • City CouncilScott Graves
Ronald Cormier
James Boone
Edward Gravel
Craig Cormier
Christine Johnson
James Walsh (Ward 1)
Elizabeth Kazinskas (Ward 2)
Nathan Boudreau (Ward 3)
Karen Hardern (Ward 4)
James Johnson (Ward 5)
 • Total23.0 sq mi (59.6 km2)
 • Land22.2 sq mi (57.5 km2)
 • Water0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
1,100 ft (324 m)
 • Total20,228
 • Estimate 
 • Density880/sq mi (340/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)978/351
FIPS code25-25485
GNIS feature ID0610059


Named in honor of Col. Thomas Gardner,[5] the community was first settled in 1764 and officially incorporated as a town in 1785 after receiving land grants from the surrounding towns of Ashburnham, Westminster, Templeton and Winchendon.[6]:2 Dating from about 1805, it became a center for lumber and furniture industries. Gardner is known as the "Chair City" and "The Furniture Capital of New England", due to its long history in furniture production.[1] By 1910 it had 20 chair factories which produced 4 million chairs per year. It was also noted for silversmithing. The Gardner State Colony for the Insane pioneered the use of cottage residences. Gardner was incorporated as a city in 1923.

Gardner is the birthplace of Heywood-Wakefield furniture, dating from 1826 when the five Heywood brothers began to fashion furniture in a barn near their father's farm. Brothers Walter, Levi, Seth, Benjamin and William began that year making wooden chairs. In the early years, Walter fashioned chairs by hand, also using a foot lathe. He was soon joined by his brothers Levi and Benjamin, part-time, while running a nearby country store. A new store was built across the street from the original store. In 1831 Levi moved to Boston where he established an outlet store to sell the chairs, while Benjamin and William remained in Gardner to manufacture the chairs. A fire destroyed the Heywoods' chair shop in 1834. In 1835 the partnership of B. F. Heywood & Co. was formed, composed of Benjamin, Walter and William, with Moses Wood and James W. Gates. Gardner was also the home of the Conant-Ball furniture factory. Nichols & Stone Chair Company traces their origin to 1762 in Westminster, Massachusetts. The company moved to Gardner at the turn of the 20th century. As of July 2008, it was announced they would terminate production. The Nichols & Stone name, the intellectual property and the design rights were purchased by the L. & J.G. Stickley of Manlius, New York.[7]

Biggest Chair, Gardner, MA

Biggest Chair, c. 1910

Elm Street Looking North, Gardner, MA

Elm Street, c. 1908

Chestnut Street, Gardner, MA

Chestnut Street, c. 1906

City seal

The seal of Gardner was designed in 1922 by native-born illustrator Walter Harrison Cady. According to the city code, the seal shows a portrayal of Col. Thomas Gardner standing in front of Crystal Lake with Mount Monadnock in the background. Within five smaller circles we see a chair, representing the importance of the furniture industry to the city's economy, as well as the letters W, W, A, and T, representing the surrounding towns of Westminster, Winchendon, Ashburnham, and Templeton which all contributed land to the city at its founding.[8][9]


Gardner is located at 42°34′26″N 71°59′27″W / 42.57389°N 71.99083°W (42.573920, -71.990818).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.0 square miles (60 km2), of which 22.2 square miles (57 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), or 3.52%, is water. Gardner is situated on Crystal Lake. The highest point in the city is the summit of Reservoir Hill, close to the center of the city, with an elevation of over 1,280 feet (390 m) above sea level.[11]

Gardner is bordered by Winchendon and Ashburnham to the north, Westminster to the east, Hubbardston to the south, and Templeton to the west, all in Massachusetts.


Gardner Center
Downtown Gardner, 2005

As of the census[24] of 2000, there were 20,770 people, 8,282 households, and 5,085 families residing in the city. The population density was 936.0 people per square mile (361.4/km²). There were 8,838 housing units at an average density of 398.3 per square mile (153.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.13% White, 2.29% African American, 0.34% Native American, 1.37% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.22% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.08% of the population, while 19.6% were of French Canadian, 17.6% French, 12.7% Irish, 6.7% English, 6.3% Polish and 6.2% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 8,282 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. Of all households 32.4% were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,334, and the median income for a family was $47,164. Males had a median income of $35,804 versus $26,913 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,624. About 7.0% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.

The town is home to Gardner High School, which has a student population of about 800.

A city with a historically large population speaking a second language, today approximately 5.6% of all residents speak Spanish at home while 2.8% regularly speak New England French.[25]


Throughout its history Gardner was known for its furniture industry, earning its nickname as the "Chair City". While the city has undergone deindustrialization in recent decades a handful of manufacturers remain in Gardner and its neighboring towns, including Standard Chair of Gardner and the Saloom Furniture Company.[26][27] The city is also home to a multinational paper and packaging manufacturer, Seaman Paper.


1899 Gardner public library Massachusetts
Gardner Museum, formerly the public library, 1899

The public library in Gardner opened in 1885.[28][29] The original library building is now a museum of Gardner's history. In fiscal year 2008, the city of Gardner spent 1.84% ($734,164) of its budget on its public library—some $35 per person.[30]

Public transportation

Public transportation for Gardner is largely supplied by the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART). MART operates local fixed-route bus services, shuttle services, as well as paratransit services within the Montachusett Region.[31]

Beginning in 1871, the Boston, Barre and Gardner Railroad provided rail service to the town. Gardner station was the terminus of the MBTA's Fitchburg Line from 1980 to 1986, but the line was cut back to Fitchburg at the beginning of 1987.[32] MART began weekday van service from Gardner to the new Wachusett terminus of the Fitchburg line in 2016.[33]


County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): Jonathan Zlotnik (D)
State Senator(s): Dean Tran (R)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Niki Tsongas (D-3rd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
  • The Annual Chair Luge, started in 2009, takes place the last Saturday in September during the Oktoberfest “Party in the Street” at the Gardner Ale House in Downtown Gardner and features teams of two racing down the streets in homemade chairs on wheels.
  • For many years, the Gardner Municipal Golf Course has been home to the Central Massachusetts High School Cross Country District Championships. Every three years, it is also home to the Massachusetts High School State Cross Country Championships. The course record for the hilly 2.9-mile (4.7 km) course is 14:00 set by Andy Powell in 1998 while Lynn Jennings has the girls' record with a time of 15:50 from 1977.
  • Home of the largest Relay For Life event in New England.

Notable people

In popular culture

Gardner was a filming location for the 1992 movie School Ties.

Gardner is one of the current filming locations for the Hulu series Castle Rock (TV series) based on the book by Steven King

See also


  1. ^ a b "Collections: Chair & Furniture". The Gardner Museum, Inc. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  2. ^ Barnes, George (17 October 2014). "Republican mayor of Gardner endorses Democratic senator". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Mayor's Office". Gardner Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 134.
  6. ^ Glazier, Lewis (1860). History of Gardner, Massachusetts: from its earliest settlement to 1860 . Worcester: Chas. Hamilton – via Wikisource.
  7. ^ "Stickley Acquires Assets of Nichols & Stone" (PDF) (Press release). Manlius, NY. L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  8. ^ Faust, James A.; Kadlik, Gayle (2012). Heywood Hospital. Arcadia Publishing. p. 19.
  9. ^ "Chapter 252: Seal, City of Gardner Code". eCode360. 9 October 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-08. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 x 15 minute topographic map series, Gardner quadrangle
  12. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-7 through 21-09, Massachusetts Table 4. Population of Urban Places of 10,000 or more from Earliest Census to 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  23. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  24. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  25. ^ "Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over; American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  26. ^ "College Chairs". Standard Chair of Gardner. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "The 2018 Living Collection". Saloom Furniture Company. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  28. ^ C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  29. ^ Levi Heywood Memorial Library Archived 2011-05-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2010-11-10
  30. ^ July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-08-04
  31. ^ "Montachusett Regional Transit Authority". Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  32. ^ Belcher, Jonathan (31 August 2012). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  33. ^ "Wachusett Shuttles Montachusett Regional Transit Authority". Montachusett Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved 2 Apr 2017.
  • Rouland, Steve Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture, 1994.

Further reading

External links

Charles H. Thomas (sports executive)

Charles Herbert Thomas (born November 22, 1876 Gardner, Massachusetts – died August 19, 1968 in Biscayne Park, Florida) was the president of the Chicago Cubs of the National League from 1914 through 1916.

It was under Murphy's ownership that the Cubs won the franchise's only two World Series titles, in 1907 and 1908.

After several years as Cubs owner, Murphy became a disliked figure among other owners in the National League, the press, and his players.

Dunn State Park

Dunn State Park is a public recreation area surrounding a 20-acre (8.1 ha) pond in Gardner, Massachusetts. The state park covers 132 acres (53 ha) and is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Gardner Heritage State Park

Gardner Heritage State Park was a history-focused state park located in the city of Gardner, Massachusetts. The facility, which occupied a former firehouse, offered exhibits on Gardner's industrial past as a center of furniture manufacturing. Opened in winter 1985, it was closed in 2002. Following its permanent closure, the Gardner Museum took possession of the center's artifacts and historic holdings.

Gardner High School

Gardner High School (GHS) is a public high school serving students in grades 8-12 in Gardner, Massachusetts.

Gardner Municipal Airport (Massachusetts)

Gardner Municipal Airport (IATA: GDM, ICAO: KGDM, FAA LID: GDM) is a public airport located 2 nmi (3.7 km) southwest of the central business district of Gardner, a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. This airport is owned by the City of Gardner, and is located in the town of Templeton.

Jacques Cesaire

Jacques E. Cesaire (born August 30, 1980) is a former American football defensive end who spent all nine of his National Football League seasons with the San Diego Chargers. He was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He played college football at Southern Connecticut State.

Jesse P. Wolcott

Jesse Paine Wolcott (March 3, 1893 – January 28, 1969) was a politician and soldier from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Wolcott was born to William Bradford Wolcott and Lillie Betsy (Paine) Wolcott in Gardner, Massachusetts and attended the common and high schools there. After moving to Michigan, he attended the Detroit Technical Institute and graduated from the Detroit College of Law in 1915. He was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Detroit. In 1927, he married Grace Sullivan.

During the First World War, Wolcott served overseas as a second lieutenant in a machine gun company of the Twenty-sixth Infantry, First Division, from 1917 to 1919. After the war he settled in Port Huron and resumed the practice of law. He served as assistant police judge of Port Huron in 1921, assistant prosecuting attorney of St. Clair County from 1922 to 1926, and prosecuting attorney from 1927 to 1930.

In 1930, Wolcott defeated incumbent U.S. Representative Louis C. Cramton in the Republican Party primary elections. He went on to win the general election to be elected from Michigan's 7th congressional district to the 72nd United States Congress, and was subsequently re-elected to the twelve succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1931 to January 3, 1957. He was chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency in the 80th and 83rd Congresses, and of the Joint Committee on Economic Report in the 83rd Congress. He was not a candidate for re-nomination in 1956.

In 1958, Jesse Wolcott was appointed a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and served as chairman until January 1964. He was a Universalist or Congregationalist and a member of American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Elks, Knights of Pythias, Lions, Moose, and Odd Fellows. He resided in Chevy Chase, Maryland until his death and is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Jonathan Zlotnik

Jonathan D. Zlotnik (born May 7, 1990) is an American state legislator serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since January, 2013. He is a Gardner resident and a member of the Democratic Party.

Matt Griffin

Matthew Jude Griffin (born May 9, 1968) is an American professional football coach and former collegiate player. He served as the head football coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) from 2003 to 2006, and Murray State University from 2007 to 2009, compiling a career college football record of 21 wins and 58 losses.

Nicholas LaRoche

Nicholas LaRoche (born July 29, 1983) is an American figure skater. He is the 2003 Nebelhorn Trophy bronze medalist, 2007 Ondrej Nepela Memorial silver medalist, and placed tenth at the 2002 World Junior Championships.

Samantha Arsenault

Samantha Arsenault (born October 11, 1981), later known by her married name Samantha Livingstone, is an American former competition swimmer and Olympic champion.

Arsenault represented the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where she received a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the women's 4×200-meter freestyle relay, together with teammates Diana Munz, Lindsay Benko and Jenny Thompson. The four Americans set a new Olympic record in the event final of 7:57.80.Arsenault was born in Peabody, Massachusetts. She swam for North Shore Swim Club and Greenwood Memorial Swim Club in Gardner, Massachusetts. She initially attended the University of Michigan, and swam for the Michigan Wolverines swimming and diving team. She transferred to the University of Georgia after her freshman year, and finished her college sports career competing for coach Jack Bauerle's Georgia Bulldogs swimming and diving team.

Segger Microcontroller Systems

SEGGER Microcontroller is a private multinational company dealing in middleware for embedded devices as well as development and programming tools. The company was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Monheim am Rhein, Germany with US offices in Gardner, Massachusetts and Milpitas, California.

Shawn Halloran

Shawn Halloran (born April 23, 1964) is an American high school sports administrator and former football player and coach. He played college football as a quarterback for the Boston College Eagles and professionally for St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). Halloran served as the head football coach at Franklin & Marshall College from 2003 to 2005, compiling a record of 17–15. He is currently the athletic director at Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, Texas, a position he has held since 2017.

The Gardner News

The Gardner News is a daily newspaper serving seven cities and towns in northwest Worcester County, Massachusetts. In addition to the city of Gardner, where it is headquartered, it also covers the rural towns of Ashburnham, Hubbardston, Phillipston, Templeton, Westminster, and Winchendon, Massachusetts.

The News publishes every day except Sunday.

Its chief competitors are the county's two largest newspapers, the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise and Worcester Telegram & Gazette, as well as the Athol Daily News.

Thomas Gardner

Colonel Thomas Gardner (1724 – July 3, 1775) was an American political figure and soldier.

Gardner was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a descendant of Thomas Gardner of Roxbury. In 1755, he married Joanna Sparhawk, a member of one of Brighton's founding families.

Gardner, a political figure in Massachusetts on the eve of the Revolution, was in the forefront of those urging resistance to the King's dissolution of the General Court in 1774, following the Boston Tea Party. He was chosen to represent Cambridge in the Middlesex County Convention, called to consider measures for public safety, as well as in the First and Second provincial Congresses. In May 1775 he was elected to the Revolutionary Council of Safety.

During the spring of 1775, he was commissioned a Colonel of a regiment he had organized largely at his own expense. Gardner's rapid rise to prominence ended when he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, in June 1775. Lingering until July 3, 1775, Gardner was the second-highest ranking American officer killed at Bunker Hill. His funeral services were attended by General George Washington.

Places named for him include Gardner Street in Boston, Massachusetts, the Gardner Pilot Academy school, and the city of Gardner, Massachusetts, in 1785.

Thomas J. Campbell (American football)

Thomas Joseph Campbell (October 27, 1886 – February 28, 1972) was an American banker and football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Bowdoin College in 1915, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1916 to 1919, and at the University of Virginia in 1922, compiling a career college football record of 16–16–2. Campbell played football at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1912.Campbell married Mildred Bell in 1920 in New York.


WGAW (1340 AM) is a radio station licensed to Gardner, Massachusetts. Established in 1946 as WHOB, the station is owned by Steven Wendell and carries a talk radio format.


For the Tennessee television station that used to have this callsign, see WJKT.

WJWT (91.7 FM) is a radio station airing a Christian format licensed to serve Gardner, Massachusetts. The station is owned by Horizon Christian Fellowship and is an affiliate of RenewFM. WJWT's programming consists of Christian music and Christian talk and teaching programs such as Turning Point with David Jeremiah, and Truth for Life with Alistair Begg. WJWT was previously owned by CSN International and derived a portion of its programming from the Calvary Satellite Network.The station was assigned the WJWT callsign by the Federal Communications Commission on July 9, 2003.

William Wilder

William Henry Wilder (May 14, 1855 – September 11, 1913) was a representative from Massachusetts.

He was born in Belfast, Maine. He moved to Gardner, Massachusetts in 1866. He was president of the Wilder Industries. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1900, and was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1909. He studied the monetary systems in Europe in 1909 and wrote many articles and pamphlets on monetary questions.

He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-second and Sixty-third Congresses and served from March 4, 1911, until his death in Washington, D.C. He is buried at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Gardner.

Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
Municipalities and communities of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Ghost town
Indian reservations
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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