Stephen Salisbury II

Stephen Salisbury II

Stephen Salisbury I had established Worcester as a center of trade between the ports of Boston and Providence and the hundreds of small towns in the interior New England in the early 19th century. He had extensive land holdings in Worcester, including most of the west side of the city, which he passed on to his son.

Stephen Salisbury II had been a prosperous merchant and was the city's most prominent citizen in 1865 when John Boynton made his proposal to establish the Worcester County Free Institute. On June 3, 1865, Salisbury was voted the first president of the Institute's board of directors. When a site for the school was sought, Salisbury offered five acres and a sum of money. That was the beginning of his many donations of cash and land--$236,000 in recorded gifts and many unknown smaller gifts. He gave most of the land that WPI now occupies and the land that is now Institute Park. In addition to his gifts, Salisbury led the trustees through the early years of the Institute. The Salisbury Laboratories, built in 1887, were funded by a gift of $100,000 donated by Stephen Salisbury III to honor his father after his death in 1884.

The Salisbury legacy lives on today:

Salisbury Laboratories

The Salisbury Laboratories provided much-needed space for mechanical engineering, chemistry, and physics, all of which had been located in Boynton Hall. Over the years, Salisbury has been the home to just about every academic department at one time or another. Currently, Humanities and Arts, Biology and Biotechnology, and Biomedical Engineering are located in Salisbury.

Salisbury Street

Salisbury Street separates Institute Park from the WPI Campus. It runs from Lincoln Street to the Holden line.

Salisbury gallery

  • Stephen Salisbury II

  • Salisbury Laboratories, circa 1887

  • The intersection of Salisbury Street and Park Avenue in the late 1880's.

  • This photograph taken about 1900 shows the water tower and footbridge which used to stand in the park.

  • A continuing tradition is the annual ropepull through Salisbury Pond between freshman and sophomores after the homecoming football game.

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