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Worcester, Massachusetts: History See also: Timeline of Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester was founded in 1673 by the English Puritan William Pynchon as "Quinsigamond" (meaning "at the long tidal river"), after his success with a trading post on the site of present-day Springfield. The original settlement – today's downtown area – consisted of a few dozen log cabins and one house at what is now Washington Square. It was intended to be named "Westborough", but instead became known as Quinsigamond when it was discovered that another community in Hampshire County had already been given that name by its proprietors; this led to confusion among some people who thought there were two towns called Westborough. To avoid confusion, early writers referred to this area as part of Southwick or Worcestershire (Southwick eventually became part owner).