Holden Massachusetts, 1890
Holden is a large town occupying high ground near the centre of Worcester County. Its form is nearly that of a diamond, having its greatest length north and south. Sterling and Royalston lie on the east, Worcester on the southeast, and Paxton, Rutland and Princeton on the southwest, west and northwest. Its assessed area is 22,133 acres.
In the north Barrett Hill is the highest elevation; close at the west of the centre, Davis Hill stands solitary; while the southern part is occupied by a group of hills, of which the highest in the town is Stonehouse Hill, with Asnebumsket Hill, 1,107 feet high, just outside the bounds. The northern central part of the town is mainly a broad valley into which gather streams from every part; on all of which are saw and grist mills, or the sites where they once were. Through the northeastern section flows eastward the Quinnepoxet River, gathering all these streams into its own rapid volume, which, in its course through the town, falls 380 feet. In the southern section is Tatnuck Brook, flowing into Worcester, and having available motive power. On one of the other streams there is a pretty cascade. The rocks are chiefly calcareous gneiss, running to lime-stone in the southeast, where a quarry has been worked to some advantage. The soil is loam, with a subsoil of gravel in some parts, in others of clay.
The aggregate product of the 214 farms in the last census year was $173,575. The sales from the woods, which occupy more than one third of the area of the town, are proportionally large. The manufactures are chiefly woollen and cotton goods; for the first of which there are three establishments, and for the latter, one; employing altogether about 400 persons. Leather, boots and shoes, boxes, cards, and meal and flour, are made in considerable quantities.
The dwellings, which number about 400 are unusually gathered into villages, which are numerous, and are scattered quite evenly over the town, in like manner as the streams. They are Holden (centre), Jeffersonville, Quinnepoxet (post-offices), Chaffinsville, Dawsonville, Eagleville, Lovellville, New States, North Wood, Springdale and Unionville. The Massachusetts Central Railroad, crossing the northern section of the town, has stations at Quinnepoxet and Jeffersonville; while the Worcester Division of the Fitchburg Railroad passes through the latter and Holden centre, and the southeast section. The population is 2,471; and there are 532 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,071,437; and the tax-rate $19.50 on $1,000.
The finest public edifice is the Damon Memorial Building, completed in 1888 at a cost of $45,000. It is of stone, in the Romanesque style of architecture; and is intended for the public library and the high school. It was presented to the town by S. C. Gale, of Minneapolis, Minn. There are 11 other public school buildings, valued at about $15,000. The schools are remarkably well graded for a country town. The churches in the town are Baptist, Congregationalist and Roman Catholic, — one of each.
This place, prior to its incorporation as a town, January 9, 1741, was part of Worcester, and was known as North Worcester. In 1808, a part of it was taken to form a portion of West Boylston. Later, there was an interchange of lands in different years with Paxton. The town was named in honor of the Hon. Samuel Holden, a director of the Bank of England.
There is a beautiful cemetery here, but the memorials of the Union soldiers lost in the late war are the tablets in the town-hall.
Nason and Varney's Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 377-378