Watertown History

The Edmund Fowle House Opens Its Doors to the Public

The Historical Society of Watertown proudly showcased the exquisite restoration of the Edmund Fowle House during a Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, May 17, 2008.  After three and a half years and almost a million dollars spent, the Edmund Fowle House is once again open to the public, but this time, with an abundance of secrets uncovered.  For the first time in 136 years, the original layout of this 236 year old house has been uncovered, and it has been returned to its former glory, when it was the meeting place of the Governor's Council during the Revolutionary War.

The Grand Opening took several months to plan and involved many people to make it the success that it was.  The Historical Society would like to thank Rae Grassia and Tammi McKenna from the Commander's Mansion, and Society Councilor Jim Bean for helping to make this event possible.


Reenactors in front of the Fowle House


Nearly 50 colonial reenactors were on hand to participate in the festivities.  Colonial militia representatives came from Charlestown, Concord, Lexington, Sudbury, Waltham and Wilmington to stand beside our own Watertown Provincial Guard.  Our Treaty Day colleague, Barbara Casey, attended, dressed in traditional garb and representing our Native American partnership in the Treaty of Watertown.

Senator Steven Tolman was on hand to cut the ribbon - not in the traditional way with a pair of scissors, but instead with a colonial sword!  It was through the efforts of Senator Tolman that the Historical Society was granted funding from the Commonwealth to restore the Edmund Fowle House.


Society President Karl Neugebauer and Bob Childs look on,
as Senator Steven Tolman performs the ribbon cutting


After the firing of muskets and the cutting of the ribbon, the public was invited in to see the magnificently restored building.


A line of guests file into the Fowle House during the Grand Opening


Although several items from the Historical Society's collection are on display in the Fowle House, the main attraction was the house itself, which had been closed to the public since 2001 and has undergone study and restoration for the last 3 years.

Historical Society Councilors and volunteers were excited to show the public the second floor, L-shaped Council Chamber, where the Governor's Council met during the first year and a half of the Revolutionary War and the day-to-day business of founding a new country began.  Copies of several documents from 1775 had been obtained from the Massachusetts State Archives and put on the tables in the Council Chamber for visitors to read.  They included invoices pertaining to Edmund Fowle, the Council Chamber and goings-on in Watertown in 1775 and 1776.


The Council Chamber on the second floor


The Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society played 18th Century music throughout the afternoon in the South Parlor.  Colonial reeanctors answered questions about the Revolutionary War and life in the 1700s.  Volunteer docents answered questions about the house and the items on display from the Society's collection.  A tent was set up in the back yard with tables and chairs where guests could enjoy refreshments.

We wish to thank the many sponsors who donated food, drink, entertainment and raffle prizes.  The Edmund Fowle House is now open for tours the third Sunday of every month from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.  Admission is $5.00.