Vincent Pacifico

Situated on a hill overlooking Lincoln Square, above the street level and right off of Highland Street sits the Salisbury Mansion and adjacent Salisbury House. These properties are historic gems that still remain in the city and teach us about early life in Worcester and how the city grew to be a successful industrial powerhouse.

The older of the two structures, Salisbury Mansion, was built in 1772 as a home for local merchant Stephen Salisbury. In its early years, the building also acted as a family store but later was fully converted to living spaces. This Federal and Georgian style house is one of Worcester’s last surviving 18th century homes located in the city making it a rare treasure. What you might not know is that the house was not always located in its current location. Originally the house stood right at the edge of Lincoln Square and it was moved to its Highland Street location in which it has been restored to its 1830s period of significance when widow Elizabeth Tuckerman Salisbury lived there. This took place during the time when moving buildings was quite normal. After her death, the mansion was rented out and occupied for many various uses such as a girls school, a gentlemans club and even tenant housing. With all of the research that has been done about the building, it currently serves as one of the best documented house museums in New England and the only one located in the City of Worcester. The mansion is now owned and operated by Worcester’s Historical Museum which gives tours, upkeeps the building, and keeps the building’s history very much alive. 

Right next door is the house of Steven Salisbury II, who was the son of the merchant. This home was constructed in 1836 and was designed in the Greek Revival style. However, its looks are quite deceiving and it’s easy to mistake this for a masonry building. This two story house is actually constructed of wood timbers and the exterior is finished with horizontal wood planks, which mimic the look of stone. This design choice may have been due to the fact that wood is the cheaper of the two building products, however, the house still achieves a similar prominent look which is a tasteful play by the Architect who designed it.

But what makes these homes so spectacular? With such a rapidly growing city it’s hard to even imagine what historic Worcester looked like. A visit to these buildings can bring you back in time and show you what life in Worcester was like during the 18th and 19th century in the home of a prominent figure. A weekend tour of the property can be a fun educational afternoon and an opportunity to understand more about the city that we all live in.