Worcester & Norfolk District.
The Worcester and
Norfolk District consists of the towns of
Bellingham, in Norfolk County; and Blackstone,
Douglas, Dudley, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford,
Millville, Northbridge, Oxford, Southbridge, Sutton,
Uxbridge, and Webster in Worcester County. The total
population of the district, as of the 2005 Census
Estimate, is approximately 169,000 people.
region was the “Birthplace of America’s
Industrial Revolution” as the early colonial era
farms gave way to textile mills along the rivers of
the area – especially, the Blackstone River – a
Presidentially-designated American Heritage River,
the French River and the Quinebaug River. Mill
villages, hilltop farms, and forests form the
landscape of the region.
This history has led
the federal government to establish two national
heritage corridors to help local communities and the
Commonwealth preserve nationally significant
historic resources and protect the scenic
environment while managing rapid modern growth. The
John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor and the Quinebaug and Shetucket
Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor offer
resources and support to local communities.
district has in recent years seen its senators rise
to positions of leadership and influence on Beacon
Hill. Senator Joseph F. Gibney (D-Webster) served as
Senate Majority Leader until 1968; Senator James A.
Kelly, Jr. 1968-78 (D-Oxford) was Senate Ways and
Means Chair; and Senator Louis P. Bertonazzi
1978-1995 (D-Milford) was Senate Majority Leader in
1995. Milford was also the home of another state
leader, John F. X. Davoren, who was Speaker of the
House (1964-67) and Secretary of the Commonwealth
(1968-74). Two Massachusetts Governors, both
Republicans, were natives of the region – William
Claflin of Milford in 1868, and Eben S. Draper of
Hopedale in 1910-11.