The city of Gardner, Massachusetts is an urban/industrial center that was settled late but immediately showed a dispersed small woodworking industry in the 1800's. Throughout the 19th century the woodworking industry continued to flourish with the immigrants and artisans form England, Ireland, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Poland. A major factor in Gardner's economy was the establishment of the Heywood-Wakefield chair factory complex in the late 1800's.
Mt. Gardner College for Women was formed in 1884 and the free public library was created in 1886. Built in 1904, the Gardner State Colony for the Insane was a pioneer in the innovative dispersal of patients in cottage residents instead of one huge building. This model has since been copied around the country.
Today, Gardner is famous for its fine furniture discount stores. People travel for many miles around to purchase their furniture for the quality and price.