The number of helpless poor in Massachusetts increased during the period of the 1840s, and the problem was greatly magnified by Irish immigration to the United States. Too large a problem to be solved on the local level, the Board of Commissioners of Alien Passengers recommended, in 1852, that the State establish three almshouses. Accordingly, the institutions were established at Bridgewater, Monson to the west, and Tewksbury to the north of Boston, and were opened in May 1854. By the end of the first year the number of inmates far exceeded expectations.
Caring for the Sick Poor: The State Almshouse at Bridgewater, 1854-1887.
Bridgewater Review, 3(1), 8-12.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/br_rev/vol3/iss1/6