Commander’s Mansion, Talcott Avenue
In 1816 Captain George
Talcott selected this location for the Watertown Arsenal because it was inland, but still accessible by ship since the Charles
River had not yet been dammed. In 1964 when it was closed as a U.S. Army Arsenal,
the Watertown Arsenal was believed to be the second oldest arsenal in the United
States. The initial site consisted of 20 acres
of land, which was expanded over time to include 130 acres and employ about 10,000 people at its peak. The original quadrangle of 13 brick buildings was designed by Alexander Parris, who also designed Quincy
Market and the Parker House in Boston.
The Commander’s mansion
was built in 1865 by Major Thomas J. Rodman for $65,000 (over $700,000 today), an enormous amount of money for that time. Major Rodman was taken to task by the U.S.
government for his extravagant spending of taxpayer’s money and transferred to Rock
Island, Illinois, never to spend one night in his new home. With 27 rooms, 11 marble fireplaces, and 13 foot high ceilings, the house is sited on 7 acres of land. The house interior has elaborate bas relief, plaster trim moldings and ceiling medallions,
as well as floors of mahogany, birch, butternut, black walnut, cedar and oak. In
1908, the grounds were landscaped by Fredrick Law Olmsted’s firm, who also designed Boston’s
Emerald Necklace and New York’s Central Park. The Mansion was occupied by various commanders succeeding Rodman until the 1980’s;
it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January of 1976. It
is currently available for rental for events. More information may be found at
the web site http://www.commandersmansion.com/.
|the Edmund Fowle House & Museum
the Edmund Fowle House
The Edmund Fowle House,
built in 1772 , is the second oldest surviving house in Watertown. During the British occupation of Boston
in the American Revolution, Watertown was the seat of Massachusetts
government. Committees of the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Congress met in this house from April 22 to July 19, 1775, and the Executive
Council of the Provincial Congress met here from July 19, 1775 to November, 1776. Well
known visitors to the house from this period include Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Paul Revere, John Hancock,
and Sam Adams.
In 1776 the Treaty of Watertown
was signed in this house, the first treaty signed between the newly formed United States of
America and a foreign power (the St. John’s
and Mi'kmaq Tribes of Native Americans). This treaty was created as a result of General Washington’s desire to secure
our northern borders from the British. At this time, the Executive Council was meeting in the Fowle House. The 28 member Executive
Council acted in place of the Governor and Lt. Governor up until the adoption of the Constitution in 1780.
The Historical Society
of Watertown has recently been awarded 2 grants from the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts for the restoration of the Edmund Fowle House. Most of the inside of the house will be restored to the 1775 period. The outside will
be restored to the 1871 period. Additional information may be obtained through
the Historical Society of Watertown's website, http://www.HistoricWatertown.org
Founder’s Monument, Charles River Road
George Frederick Robinson
raised thirty thousand dollars for the creation of this monument, depicting Sir Richard Saltonstall in colonial dress and
decorated with bas-reliefs of Clap’s Landing and the anti-tax protest of 1632. Designed by Henry Hudson Kitson,the sculpture
is nine feet tall, cast in bronze and stands on massive granite slabs.
G. Fred, as he was called,
was born in 1860. He was known and acknowledged as the town historian and served as a Town Meeting Member for 65 years. He
worked hard for the beautification of the riverbanks along the Charles. He also served as President of the Historical Society
of Watertown from 1930 to 1949.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Good News... see below....
Subject: Project Approved for the 2008 DCR Partnerships Matching Funds Program for - The Memorial
to the Founders of Watertown in Watertown, MA
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008
Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that the Department of Conservation and Recreation's
Partnerships Matching Funds Program, through DCR's Office of External Affairs and Partnerships, has selected The
Memorial to the Founders of Watertown to receive Fiscal Year 2008 matching funds of $35,000 to restore the Memorial to the Founders of
Watertown - improve visual access to it through selective clearing of trees.
As indicated on the Partnerships Matching Funds application you submitted, we will require deposit ($17,500) of the non-state matching funds for your project by March 15, 2008, into
DCR's Urban Parks Trust. Project Manager, Dan
Driscoll from DCR has been assigned to your project and will contact you soon.
DCR Partnerships Matching Funds Program
Roger Clap Landing Site
The Mary & John was one of the first about a dozen shiploads of immigrants that arrived in Massachusetts Bay the summer of
1630. Left by the captain “in a forlorn place” at Nantasket Point in June, the company sent a party of “ten
men well armed” – including twenty-one year old Roger Clap – under the command of Captain Richard Southcot
to find a place to settle.
Years later, Clap wrote
how the men “went up the Charles River, until the river grew narrow and shallow, and
there we landed our goods with much labor and toil, the bank being steep.” That evening they learned that “three
hundred Indians” were camped nearby. “In the morning, some of the Indians came and stood at a distance off, looking
at us, but came not near us. But when they had been a while in view, some of them came and held out a great bass towards us;
so we sent a man with a biscuit, and changed the cake for the bass. Afterwards, they supplied us with bass, exchanging a bass
for a biscuit cake, and were very friendly unto us.”
These Englishmen and the
others from the Mary & John soon settled Dorchester, but Watertown
architect Charles Brigham depicted the friendly encounter on his design for Watertown’s
town seal. The Perkins School
for the Blind across the street from the stone marker is located at the site that Clapp referred to as the steep bank.