National Guard Armory, Worcester, Mass

The National Guard Armory at the corner of Salisbury and Grove Streets in Worcester, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The building in 2016:

This castle-like design was a common element of National Guard armories in Massachusetts built in the late 19th century, and similarly imposing structures from the same time period can be seen in Springfield and Boston. Although it was never besieged by enemy armies, and no arrows ever rained down from the turrets, the building has been a landmark feature at Wheaton Square ever since its completion in 1890. It was designed by the Worcester-based firm of Fuller & Delano, and as seen in an earlier post, it is one of several prominent Romanesque-style buildings that were constructed here around the same time period.

Today, the armory building is no longer used by the National Guard. For many years, it was home to the National Guard Museum and Archives, but in 2013 the museum moved to Concord, and the following year the building was transferred to Veterans, Inc., an organization that serves homeless veterans and had leased part of the building since 1991. It is also a contributing property in the Institutional District, on the National Register of Historic Places, and aside from the shortening of the central tower the building’s exterior remains well preserved over 125 years after its completion.

6 thoughts on “National Guard Armory, Worcester, Mass”

  1. I appreciate all that goes into this website. Being from Georgia & never have traveled north of Philadelphia, I find this fascinating. Every week I can hardly wait to see what is here. I have always loved history & this has refreshed me in more ways than one. Again many thanks.

  2. This brings back memories for me as my father was in the national guard and was in charge of the small arms room upstairs to the left of the balcony which was there back then around the years from the 1930’s through the 1940’s when he was activated and went off to OCS. I as a 9 to 10 year old went there while the guards did their drilling.

  3. Bob Larson (1962) , captain of the North High School indoor track team defeated favored Al Fournier of South High School in the 1000 yard run to help the Polar Bears win the Inter-High Indoor Championships under the wise coaching of Paul J. McMahon.
    Fournier was the reigning sity and state cross-country king, but in taking on Larson in the 1000 he suffered his first, and only defeat at the hands of (and legs) of any Inter-High rival. Larson went on to start at UMass Amherst and Fourier spent one year at Northeaster before leaving to enlist in the Army, serve in Vietnam and earn three purple hearts, the last for sacrificing a lung.

    Running on the flat, dusty hard floor of the Armory was challenging. Hurdles set up on four corners of the floor formed the somewhat elongated oval of the track. Better suited for military drills and marching, the Armory still holds a mystique to thos of us who train and competed there.


Leave a Comment