Watertown is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and is part of the Greater Boston area. The population was 31,915 in the 2010 census. Its neighborhoods include Bemis, Coolidge Square, East Watertown, Watertown Square, and the West End. It is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that retain the title of “town” while functioning under state law as cities.
Watertown was one of the first Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements organized by English Puritans in 1630. The city is home to the Perkins School for the Blind, the Armenian Library and Museum of America, and the historic Watertown Arsenal, which produced military armaments from 1816 through World War II.
Watertown's Main Street, facing westward
In pace condita (Latin)
"Founded in peace"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in the United States
|Incorporated||September 7, 1630|
|• City Manager||Michael J. Driscoll|
|• Total||4.2 sq mi (10.8 km2)|
|• Land||4.1 sq mi (10.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||36 ft (11 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||7,600/sq mi (3,000/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||617 / 857|
|GNIS feature ID||0612401|
Archeological evidence suggests that Watertown was inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from England. Two tribes of Massachusett, the Pequossette and the Nonantum, had settlements on the banks of the river later called the Charles. The Pequossette built a fishing weir to trap herring at the site of the current Watertown Dam. The annual fish migration, as both alewife and blueback herring swim upstream from their adult home in the sea to spawn in the fresh water where they were hatched, still occurs every spring.
Watertown, first known to settlers as Saltonstall Plantation, was one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.
The first buildings were upon land now included within the limits of Cambridge known as Gerry's Landing. For its first quarter century Watertown ranked next to Boston in population and area. Since then its limits have been greatly reduced. Thrice portions have been added to Cambridge, and it has contributed territory to form the new towns of Weston (1712), Waltham (1738), Lincoln (1754) and Belmont (1859). In 1632 the residents of Watertown protested against being compelled to pay a tax for the erection of a stockade fort at Cambridge; this was the first protest in America against taxation without representation and led to the establishment of representative democracy in the colony. As early as the close of the 17th century, Watertown was the chief horse and cattle market in New England and was known for its fertile gardens and fine estates. Here about 1632 was erected the first gristmill in the colony, and in 1662 one of the first woolen mills in America was built here.
Much excitement was generated in Watertown towards the start of the American Revolutionary War period. In 1773, many of its citizens were engaged with the Sons of Liberty in another tax protest, this time against the British Tea Tax which resulted in the famous Boston Tea Party rebellion.
Then later (April 1775), some 134 Watertown minutemen responded to the alarm from Lexington to rout the British redcoats from their march to Concord. Thereafter many of these citizen soldiers were part of the first battle line formed at the Siege of Boston. Another Watertown citizen, Israel Bissel, was the first rider to take the news of the British attack and rode all the way to Connecticut, New York and Philadelphia.
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress, after adjournment from Concord, met from April to July 1775 in the First Parish Church, the site of which is marked by a monument. The Massachusetts General Court held its sessions here from 1775 to 1778. Committees met in the nearby Edmund Fowle House. Boston town meetings were held here during the siege of Boston, when many Boston families made their homes in the neighborhood. For several months early in the American Revolution the committees of safety and committee of correspondence made Watertown their headquarters and it was from here that General Joseph Warren set out for Bunker Hill.
Here, the Treaty of Watertown, the first treaty signed between the newly formed United States of America and a foreign power, the St. John's and Mi'kmaq First Nations of Nova Scotia, was signed in this house.
From 1832 to 1834 Theodore Parker conducted a private school here and his name is still preserved in the Parker School, though the building no longer operates as a public school.
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, creating the first garden cemetery in the United States. The landscape of Mount Auburn provided inspiration for the nation’s first public parks and picturesque suburbs designed by the early generations of American landscape architects. Mount Auburn has been recognized as one of the most significant designed landscapes in the country. Although perceived as a Cambridge institution, almost all of the cemetery is actually in Watertown.
The Watertown Arsenal operated continuously as a military munitions and research facility from 1816 until 1995, when the Army sold the property, by then known as the Army Materials Technology Laboratory, to the town of Watertown. The Arsenal is notable for being the site of a 1911 strike prompted by the management methods of operations research pioneer Frederick Winslow Taylor (Taylor and 1911 Watertown Arsenal Strike). Taylor's method, which he dubbed "Scientific Management," broke tasks down into smaller components. Workers no longer completed whole items; instead, they were timed using stopwatches as they did small tasks repetitively, as Taylor attempted to find the balance of tasks that resulted in the maximum output from workers. The strike and its causes were controversial enough that they resulted in Congressional hearings in 1911; Congress passed a law in 1915 banning the method in government owned arsenals. Taylor's methods spread widely, influencing such industrialists as Henry Ford, and the idea is one of the underlying inspirations of the factory (assembly) line industrial method. The Watertown Arsenal was the site of a major superfund clean-up in the 1990s, and has now become a center for shopping, dining and the arts, with the opening of several restaurants and a new theatre. The site includes the Arsenal Center for the Arts, a regional arts center that opened in 2005. The Arsenal is now owned by athenahealth. Arsenal Street features two shopping malls across the street from one another, with the Watertown Mall on one side and Arsenal Yards on the other.
The Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829, has been located in Watertown since 1912.
In 1988, Watertown Square became the new location for the Armenian Library and Museum of America, said to host the largest collection of Armenian artifacts in North America.
Shortly after midnight of April 18–19, 2013, the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing engaged in a protracted battle with police, in Watertown involving the use of firearms and explosives. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was critically wounded and later pronounced dead and the town was completely locked down for hours as police, FBI, and Army National Guard personnel patrolled it, looking for the remaining suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured wounded but alive in a boat shortly after the lockdown ended on the following evening.
Watertown is located at  To the north, it is bordered by the town of Belmont, along Belmont Street; to the south, it is bordered by Newton and Brighton—the border being largely formed by the Charles River. In Watertown Square, the nexus of the town, the town's border extends south of the Charles to encompass the neighborhood surrounding Casey Playground. To the east lies the City of Cambridge, the border to which is almost entirely the well-known Mount Auburn Cemetery, most of which is actually in Watertown (though commonly believed to be in Cambridge). To the west lies the more expansive city of Waltham, but there is no distinct geographic feature dividing the two municipalities.(42.37139, −71.18194).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.1 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km² or 1.20%) is water.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 32,986 people, 14,629 households, and 7,329 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,025.7 people per square mile (3,098.8/km²). There were 15,008 housing units at an average density of 3,651.5 per square mile (1,409.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.42% White, 1.73% African American, 0.16% Native American, 3.87% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.85% from other races, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.68% of the population.
There were 14,629 households out of which 17.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.9% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the city, the population was spread out with 14.1% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 39.8% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $59,764, and the median income for a family was $67,441. Males had a median income of $46,642 versus $39,840 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,262. About 4.5% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
Watertown is a major center of the Armenian diaspora in the United States, with the third-largest Armenian community in the United States, estimated as numbering 7,000 to over 8,000 as of 2007. Watertown ranks only behind the California cities of Glendale and Fresno. Watertown is also the venue for the publication of long-running Armenian newspapers in English and Armenian, including:
Major employers based in Watertown include the Tufts Health Plan, New England Sports Network, the Perkins School for the Blind, Sasaki, Exergen Corporation, Harvard Business Publishing, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and athenahealth.
Watertown borders Soldiers Field Road and the Massachusetts Turnpike, major arteries into downtown Boston. Watertown is served by several MBTA bus and trackless trolley routes. Most of them pass through or terminate in Watertown Square or Watertown Yard. The former A-Watertown branch of the MBTA's Green Line ran to Watertown until 1969.
Public schooling is provided for approximately 2,600 students by Watertown Public Schools, which operates three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school (Watertown High School).
Private day schools:
There is also a supplementary Armenian language school, St. James Erebuni Armenian School (Armenian: Սբ. Հակոբ Էրեբունի հայկական դպրոց), affiliated with the St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, which teaches both Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian to children. It originated as a solely Eastern Armenian supplementary school established in 1988 by the Armenian Society of Boston (Iranahye Miutyun); it was Greater Boston's first Eastern Armenian supplementary school. It became church-affiliated in 2015, and it merged with a Western Armenian school, St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian School, in September of that year.
The Armenian Mirror-Spectator is a newspaper published by the Baikar Association, in Watertown, Massachusetts.Among others, Arthur Derounian (John Roy Carlson) wrote for it.Armenian Weekly
Armenian Weekly (originally Hairenik Weekly) is an English Armenian publication published by Hairenik Association, Inc. in Watertown, Massachusetts in the United States. It is the sister publication to the Armenian language weekly Hairenik.
It was started as Hairenik Weekly in 1934 and its name was changed to Armenian Weekly, the name under which it is still published, in 1969. Armenian Weekly also runs an online publication.Arsenal Yards
Arsenal Yards (formerly known as Arsenal Mall from 1983 to 2013 and the Arsenal Project from 2013 to 2016) is a planned mixed-use, smart growth development in Watertown, Massachusetts, with an estimated opening date of late 2019. The area is home to the original Arsenal Mall site, which is currently being redeveloped for Arsenal Yards. It will include 250,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 200,000 square feet of office space, a 150-room Hampton Inn hotel, and 425 residences.Baikar
Baikar (Պայքար meaning 'Struggle' in Armenian) is an Armenian language weekly published by the Baikar Association Inc., in Watertown, Massachusetts, United States.
It was established in 1922 and published in Armenian as a daily and was an official organ of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) also commonly known as Ramgavar Party. It is considered as a continuation of the publication Tsayn Hayrenyats (in Armenian Ձայն Հայրենյաց meaning Voice of the Fatherland) established in 1899.
After publishing for decades as a daily, it was changed into a weekly and later on ceased publication. The publication was renewed as a weekly starting January 2018. Headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, the new Baikar is widely available as a print publication in California and Lebanon and is available online elsewhere.
Baikar is the sister publication to the English language Armenian Mirror-Spectator and published from the same premises.Geoff Grant
Geoff Grant is an American former professional tour tennis player.Hairenik
Hairenik (Armenian: Հայրենիք meaning "fatherland") is an Armenian language weekly newspaper published by the Hairenik Association in Watertown, Massachusetts in the United States.
The newspaper, serving the Armenian American community, was established as a weekly in on May 1, 1899, in New York making it one of the longest-running Armenian publications. It permenantly moved to Watertown, Massachusetts near Boston in 1900.
In June 1913, it started publishing once every two days, and in December 1915, it became a daily newspaper, with continuous publication as such until 1991, when it was reduced to weekly publication due to declining readership.
It has had the involvement of prominent Armenian national figures as editors such as Arshak Vramian (1900–1907), Siamanto (1909–1911), Simon Vratsian (1911–1914), and Rouben Darbinian (1922–1968).
Hairenik published early stories by William Saroyan, such as "The Broken Wheel" (1933), written under the pen name "Sirak Goryan".Michael Jingozian
Michael Paul Jingozian (born April 30, 1961) is an American entrepreneur and political activist who served as vice chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2008 to 2010. He was a candidate for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party.Outram Bangs
Outram Bangs (January 12, 1863 – September 22, 1932) was an American zoologist.Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, Massachusetts, is the oldest school for the blind in the United States. It has also been known as the Perkins Institution for the Blind.Perkins manufactures its own Perkins Brailler, which is used to print embossed, tactile books for the blind; and the Perkins SMART Brailler, a braille teaching tool, at the Perkins Solutions division housed within the Watertown campus's former Howe Press.Peter Folger (Nantucket settler)
Peter Folger or Foulger (1617 –1690) was a poet and an interpreter of the American Indian language for the first settlers of Nantucket. He was instrumental in the colonization of Nantucket Island in the Massachusetts colony. He was the maternal grandfather of Benjamin Franklin.A Baptist missionary, teacher, and surveyor, his dealings with the native population promoted harmony between the Native Americans and European settlers.Peter B.Smith who lives in nehalem Oregon is a direct decendent of Peter Folger.Sawins Pond
Sawins Pond is a man-made pond created in the 19th century in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. Its banks were the site of an upscale hotel, and it was a popular fishing and swimming spot. It was then used by Hood Rubber company, and then BF Goodrich. They deposited scores of barrels onto the site, filled with rubber scraps.Simon Wing
Simon Wing (1826 –1910) was a daguerreotypist and camera inventor and socialist politician. He is best remembered as the first candidate of the Socialist Labor Party of America for President of the United States, running for that office in 1892.St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church
St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian: Սուրբ Ստեփանոս Հայաստանեայց Առաքելական Եկեղեցի), also known as Soorp Stepanos Church, is an Armenian Apostolic church in Watertown, Massachusetts.
There is a bilingual school next to the church named St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School.WAZN
WAZN (1470 AM) is an ethnic radio station in the Boston, Massachusetts market, licensed to Watertown. It is owned by Multicultural Broadcasting, and as of February 1, 2016 broadcasts Chinese language programming, simulcast from M.R.B.I.'s New York City station.WRCA
WRCA (1330 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Watertown, Massachusetts and serving the Greater Boston media market. The license is held by the Beasley Media Group, LLC, part of the Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. The station carries financial news from Bloomberg Radio with some local news, weather and traffic reports. WRCA's programming is also heard on FM translator W291CZ (106.1 MHz) and on the HD2 channel of sister station WBOS.Watertown Arsenal
The Watertown Arsenal was a major American arsenal located on the northern shore of the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts. The site is now registered on the ASCE's List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks and on the U.S.'s National Register of Historic Places, and it is home to a park, restaurants, mixed use office space, and currently serves as the national headquarters for athenahealth.Watertown High School (Massachusetts)
Watertown High School is the local high school for Watertown, Massachusetts. It has a diverse student population of just under 700 with a high concentration of ethnic Armenians. The school is home to the Watertown Raiders, who are best known for their varsity field hockey and boys' basketball programs. Watertown's colors are black and red.Watertown Square station
Watertown Square is the main square of Watertown, Massachusetts, located at the confluence of North Beacon Street and Main Street (US-20), Mt. Auburn Street (MA-16), Pleasant Street, Arsenal Street, and Charles River Road. The Armenian Library and Museum of America is located in the square; Watertown Dam is 1,000 feet (300 m) to the west.Will Brownsberger
William N. Brownsberger (born March 21, 1957) is an American state legislator and President Pro Tempore of the Massachusetts Senate representing the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District which includes his hometown of Belmont, as well as Watertown, and parts of Allston, Brighton, Fenway-Kenmore, and Back Bay which are neighborhoods of Boston. From 2007 to 2012 he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2013 special election to succeed Ed Markey in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Places adjacent to Watertown, Massachusetts
This list is incomplete.
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
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