On this day in 1848, the Governor of Massachusetts signed a charter giving the once-sleepy village of Worcester the legal status of a city. For over a century, Worcester's isolated location in the hilly center of Massachusetts caused it to grow more slowly than coastal ports like Boston and river towns like Springfield. The opening of a canal link to Providence in 1828 and the arrival of the railroads only a few years later spurred the growth of industry and commerce. Local investors and a highly skilled work force helped create an unusually diversified economy. Worcester was well on its way to becoming the second-largest city in the state, indeed in all of New England. So it has remained to the present day.