Events

Treaty Day: a Commemoration of the Declaration of Independence and Treaty of Watertown

Saturday, July 16, 2016
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Edmund Fowle House
28 Marshall Street
Watertown, MA 02472

This annual event marks the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence to the citizens of our new nation in Watertown on July 18, 1776.  The signing of the first treaty negotiated by our new nation with a foreign power, namely the St. John's (aka Maliseet) and Mi'kmaq Tribes of Nova Scotia, at the Edmund Fowle House on July 19, 1776, will also be celebrated.

The Nugumij (Grandmother) Drum from the United Native American Cultural Center in Devens, MA, will be present and drummers and singers will perform several songs to mark the occasion.  Center members and guests, dressed in their native regalia, and colonial reenactors will be present to share their stories.

The Edmund Fowle House will be open for free tours.  Visitors will also be able to view two ongoing exhibits: Watertown and the Civil War and A Mi'Kmaw Woman's Award Winning Legacy.

A basket for donations of non-perishable food items to the Watertown Food Pantry will be available.

This event is partially funded by the Watertown Community Foundation.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Audrey Jones Childs at 617-926-2577.

Special Public Program

A presentation on The Community Preservation Act (CPA)

Sponsored by:
The Watertown Free Public Library
Invest in Watertown

Joined by:
The Community Preservation Coalition

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

The Community Preservation Act is a law that was passed in 2000 that allows the residents of a city or town to adopt a small surcharge on their real estate tax bills to create a fund that can only be used for special community investment purposes.  Funds generated by the CPA can only be used as follows:

  • Open space and outdoor recreation (e.g., restoration of Walker Pond, creation of a new soccer field, improvements to the Charles River Path, dog parks, playgrounds)
  • Affordable housing (e.g., rehabilitation and new construction of homes that help senior citizens and young families stay in Watertown)
  • Historic preservation (e.g., renovation of a branch library, archiving of historic photos and documents, preservation of historic gravestones, monuments and buildings)

In Watertown, the CPA would raise approximately $1.7 million each year and make the town eligible for partial matching funds from the state.  Join us for an in-depth discussion of the Community Preservation Act, learn how neighboring towns have used their CPA funds and discover what Watertown could do with its funds if voters choose to adopt the CPA this November.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Joyce 781-899-7239.

Annual Members Meeting with Election of Board Members and May Public Program

Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War
A presentation by author Kenneth A. Daigler

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
7:00 PM Annual Members Meeting
7:15 PM May Public Program
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Students and enthusiasts of American history are familiar with the Revolutionary War spies Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold, but few studies have closely examined the wider intelligence efforts that enabled the colonies to gain their independence.  Kenneth A. Dagiler will discuss his new book, Spies, Patriots, and Traitors, which provides readers with a fascinating and well-documented account of American intelligence activities during the era of the Revolutionary War, from 1765 to 1783, while describing the intelligence sources and methods used and the way in which our Founding Fathers learned and practiced their intelligence role.

Kenneth A. Daigler is a retired career CIA operations officer.  He earned a BA in history from Centre College of Kentucky and an MA in history from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He has written articles about intelligence for the CIA Historical Division's journal, Studies in Intelligence, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers' Intelligencer and other publications.  Spies, Patriots, and Traitors is available for purchase from Amazon.com.

This meeting and program are free and open to the public.
For more information, call Joyce at 781-899-7239.

Special Public Program

A talk by Stephen Kendrick, author of The Lively Place:  Mount Auburn, America's First Garden Cemetery, and Its Revolutionary and Literary Residents

Sponsored by:
The Watertown Free Public Library
The Historical Society of Watertown

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Author Stephen Kendrick will talk about his new book, which celebrates a vital piece of our nation's history.  The Lively Place tells the story of Mount Auburn's founding, its legacy and the many influential Americans interred there, from religious leaders to abolitionists, poets and reformers.

Kendrick is a senior minister at the First and Second Unitarian Universalist Churches in Boston.  He is the author of Holy Clues (Pantheon, 1999), Sarah's Long Walk (Beacon Press, 2004) and Douglass and Lincoln (Walker & Co., 2008).

The Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery will provide books for purchase at this event.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Joyce at 781-899-7239.

March Public Program

Documenting Sand Banks Cemetery in Watertown's East End
A slideshow lecture by Bill McEvoy

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

After four years of work, Bill McEvoy's research of the Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery, also known as Sand Banks Cemetery and Cottage Street Cemetery, is complete.  Sand Banks Cemetery, a less than 7 acre parcel, is owned by and receives minimal care from the Archdiocese of Boston.  The cemetery has many exquisite and finely carved monuments erected to residents from all walks of life.  Not all of the graves are marked and many of the monuments are weathered, in need of repair, have fallen or are at risk of falling.

This presentation will provide a sampling of the monuments in the cemetery and the people they commemorate.  It will also provide a detailed description of the difficult times faced by the Irish immigrants from the Great Famine in 1847.  Bill's study is based on data he collected for 22,000+ people buried from 1854 to 1920.  His talk will impart a better understanding of the state of residential and economic conditions, lack of proper sanitation, substandard to nonexistent healthcare, ethnic prejudices and mortality rates.  Bill entered all of the information he gathered into a downloadable Excel spreadsheet.

Mr. McEvoy was presented with a Historic Resources Preservation Award by the Watertown Historical Commission for this work in 2013.  Click here for more info on this project.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Joyce at 781-899-7239.