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Oldest/Firsts Within the Blackstone Valley

 Mendon was the site of the first attack of King Philip's War. 

Robert Goddard of WPI who invented the first liquid fuel rocket (and the engine to go with it) and fired it off in Auburn, MA.

The first woman EVER to vote in America was Lydia Taft from Uxbridge, MA

Worcester Foundation and Robert Hoagland, inventor of the first anti-pregnancy tablet, Shrewsbury, MA
Worcester State Hospital, the first Humanistic Mental Hospital in the U.S.
Worcester State College, the first collegiate institution in the U.S. to offer a major in Early Childhood Education.
American Antiquarian Society headquarters, located in Worcester, MA.
Worcester, the home of the oldest tracker pipe organ in America.
Worcester, MA, home of the American Museum of Sanitary Plumbing and the The American Museum of Shopping Bag Art.
Worcester, Norton Abrasives, home of the first carbide abrasive wheel (a tool for trimming and dressing metal tools that were impervious to any other means.)
WPI, the school of the inventor of the two wheeled "Walker".
Clark University, the home of the famous, and only, series of debates between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.
Worcester City Hospital, the home of the 5th oldest hospital school of Nursing in the U.S. and the last to close, 1992.  Also, the first VD clinic, Getchell Clinic, in the U.S.
Mechanics Hall, the home of the first and yet extant Hooker & Hastings pipe organ in the U.S.
Oread Institute, the first women's school of higher ed.
Worcester, also home of the first detoxification clinic in America.  (the house still stands at 14 Oread Street.)
Worcester, birthplace and home of Abby Hoffman.
Worcester, home of Abbie Kelly Foster.

Providence is home to the First Baptist Church in America, founded by Roger Williams in 1638.

Pawtucket is home to the first successful water powered cotton spinning mill, Slater Mill, which started the American Industrial Revolution in 1793.

The Congregational Church in Slatersville has the oldest running Sunday School in the Nation

Chepachet's Brown and Hopkins General Store is the longest operating general store in the Nation starting in 1809

Slatersville is the first planned mill village in the Nation

The former Grafton Airport was the first Worcester County airfield

Betty the Elephant was the first traveling elephant show in the Nation, a precursor to the circus

Ethan Allen invented the first revolver in the Town of Grafton

The first department store in the Nation was Ann & Hope in Cumberland, RI and Sam Walmart came to visit this long running store before he unveiled Walmart

Adin Ballou created the first utopian society in America in Hopedale

Worcester is the birthplace of barbed wire, the monkey wrench in 1841 by Loring and Aury Coes,  the 1964 Harvey Ball smiley face, and the space suit made by David Clark Company. The envelope folding machine was created in Worcester by Russell Hawes in 1853. Worcester was also the home of the first Valentine, created when Esther Howland, born in 1828, established the American Valentine Company which possibly also pioneered the production line. 

Worcester's glory doesn't stop there, however, and the 1930 Higgins Armory was the first building in the Nation to be built entirely with steel and glass on the exterior. This museum still boasts one of the world's largest collections of armor.

And you thought the rickshaw was developed in China? Nope, Worcester blacksmith and carriage maker Albert Tolman made the first rickshaw in 1848 for a missionary returning to China and needing a way to easily transport his ailing wife!

Worcester also was the home of the first public park created on land donated by the federal government, in June 1854 with Elm Park. This park is based on famous landscaper  Frederick Law Olmstead's principles.

Worcester was home to Marshall "Major" Taylor, the fastest bicyclist in the world at the turn of the twentieth century. Worcester hosted the First National Women's Rights Convention in 1850. Seneca Fall Convention, hosted two years ealier was only a local convention.  In 1933, FDR appointed Frances Perkins, a one-time Worcesetr resident, as the first woman to ever serve on the presidential cabinet. She became Secretary of Labor.

On June 12, 1880, Worcester pitcher J. Lee Richmond pitched professional baseball's first perfect game and allowed no one on base! Also, Casey and the Bat was penned by hometown boy, Ernest Thayer.

Lastly, life-long Worcester resident Robert H. Goddard launched the first rocket powered by liquid fuel in 1926 after becoming absorbed in sci-fi novels as a teen. Goddad's discoveries helped send men to space. In 1969, the famous words heard from astronaut Neil Armstrong came from the moon through a David Clark Company headset.

Lydia Taft of Uxbridge was the first woman to ever vote in the Nation

In 1852 Massachusetts became the first state to pass legislation making school attendance mandatory

West Upton once was home to the longest tavern in the world, now broken down into seven homes by William Knowlton of the famous straw hat factory in West Upton. Enjoy the Walking Tour and see the homes.

Millville at the Rubber Mill was the first location to ever hold a worker strike- June 18, 1885.

Please feel free to add to this list if you know of other firsts or oldests.

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