Leominster ( /lɛmənstər/ lem-ən-stər) is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the second-largest city in Worcester County, with a population of 40,759 at the 2010 census. Leominster is located north of Worcester and west of Boston. Both Route 2 and Route 12 pass through Leominster. Interstate 190, Route 13, and Route 117 all have starting/ending points in Leominster. Leominster is bounded by Fitchburg and Lunenburg to the north, Lancaster to the east, Sterling and Princeton to the south, and Westminster to the west.
Before European settlement, various divisions of the Pennacook or Nipmuc tribes inhabited the area, with a settlement nearby called Nashua. Leominster was first settled in 1653 as part of the town of Lancaster. The settlers of Lancaster lived in peace with the Native Americans for more than years, until the start of King Philip's War in 1675. Many of Lancaster's inhabitants were either killed or fled the town. Once the fighting had ceased, the town was left virtually deserted. In an effort to bring people back, a new grant of land (containing what is now Leominster and Sterling) was offered to the former residents. To avoid further hostilities with the Native Americans, a negotiation with Chief Sholan of the Nashaway tribe resulted in one of the only parcels of land in central Massachusetts to be legally purchased. The first house was built in 1724, and by 1740 Leominster had gained enough inhabitants to be officially incorporated into a town.
Early Leominster consisted of family farms, growing mainly grains, vegetables, and fruit. It became a city in 1915. Leominster is now known as "The Pioneer Plastics City" because of its thriving plastics industry from the early part of the 20th century to the present day, and as "The Home of Street Hockey" due to its contributions to the game. Leominster and Fitchburg are commonly known as the twin cities in the area because of their similar populations, their shared history of industry, and their location on the Nashua River.