For a long while I could not figure out how this name came about. As I traveled around the area in my car, the name made absolutely no sense. It was only when I was looking at some older maps of the city, and noticed a station labeled "Summit," that the idea that perhaps the railroads had something to do with the name crossed my mind.
According to this history of Worcester by Dr. Coombs, the "Worcester & Nashua Railroad began operations in 1848." Perhaps "The Summit" was the highest point on this new railroad?
|Elevation Profile of the Worcester & Nashua Railroad from Union Station to West Boylston|
According to Your Worcester St. by Ivan Sandrof, Mountain St. was part of the Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike connecting Boston to Amherst overall and Shrewsbury and Holden locally and "it was so hilly as to be famous in the days of the stage coach." So the Mountain St. names derives from the stagecoach days (the east and west designations apparently due to the fact that The Summit is approximately half way between Shrewsbury and Holden), but what about the idea of this being the "Summit" of the journey between Shrewsbury and Holden?
|Elevation Profile of East and West Mountain Sts. from Holden Center to Shrewsbury Center|
The turnpike was abandoned long ago, and no passenger trains travel along the railroad today (the railroad line remains active as part of the Pan Am Railways freight network in New England). Some of us even arrive at The Summit by traveling downhill. Perhaps we should update the name to Summit Valley?