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An historic photo of 30 Elm St. in Worcester

A burst city water pipe has caused damage to the Worcester Historical Museum, the former home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, and forced the building to close temporarily.

The Society, established in 1842 and expanding, moved into a new Horticulture Building at 30 Elm Street in 1928. The centerpiece of the building, Horticulture Hall, for decades showcased popular fruit, flower and vegetable exhibitions, including a large Spring Exhibition that was always the talk of the town. One detail of the building that’s an interesting part of our own history but also indicative of the changing social demographics of Worcester at the time is that one of the architects of the building, Frederick Coulson, grew up on the Salisbury estate in Worcester as the son of John Coulson, Stephen Salisbury III’s gardener.

The society, which oversees Tower Hill Botanic Garden, moved to Boylston in 1986. But fondness and respect for the Horticulture Building and the Historical Museum  which moved in to the stately structure have never waned.

According to the Telegram & Gazette, a city intake water pipe burst Dec. 2 at the 30 Elm St. building, which left the boiler room under water. The museum collection and archive areas were also affected. Museum staff are working with a team of professionals to repair, stabilize, and assess substantial needs of the costume and textile collections. The museum will remain closed while repairs are completed.

Museum director William Wallace said anyone wishing to help can donate to the museum’s annual appeal, details on which can be located here.


An example of an exhibit in Horticulture Hall from the 20th century.