Annual Members Meeting with Election of Board Members, Volunteer Recognition Awards and May Public Program

A Look at Ourselves:  The Armenian Genocide and Cultural Preservation
A presentation by Ruth Thomasian, founder and CEO of Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
6:30 PM Annual Members Meeting
6:45 PM Volunteer Recognition Awards
7:00 PM May Public Program
The Apartments at Coolidge School Auditorium
319 Arlington Street
Watertown, MA 02472

The Historical Society is pleased to acknowledge the important work of its volunteers in a public ceremony

The volunteer recognition will be followed by a presentation by Ruth Thomasian, who will discuss the challenges of preserving heritage and history when the lifeblood of a culture has been destroyed by genocide.  Ruth, a second-generation Armenian American, will document her unique method of putting the broken puzzle of history back together by collecting and documenting Armenian family photographs.  She will share her journey from ignorance about Armenian culture to becoming an expert in Armenian social history.  With her innumerable connections to people's stories, her focus will be on photos with Watertown connections that tell of lives lived in the homeland, as well as in diaspora.

Ruth will begin with photographs about her own family's roots in Watertown, then move on to photographs from other Watertown Armenian families, sharing stories she has heard at their dining room and kitchen tables.  Their stories reveal so much about human psychology and resiliency and, in many ways, so much about our own lives and how we perceive ourselves--truly A LOOK AT OURSELVES.

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

Special Event:  Inaugural Exhibits Opening Reception

Watertown and the Civil War
A Mi'Kmaw Woman's Award Winning Legacy

Saturday, March 7, 2015
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Edmund Fowle House
28 Marshall Street
Watertown, MA 02472

On display in the Fowle House's North Parlor will be Watertown and the Civil War, an exhibit featuring a newly-acquired collection, donated by one of our long-time members, Florence Jones, of transcriptions and reproductions of Civil War letters written by her great-uncle Thomas Folsom Norris, who joined the Union Army as a 15-year-old drummer boy in 1862.  Visitors can also read newspaper interviews from 1911 with Civil War veterans living in Watertown at the time and view information on other people and sites connected to Watertown and the Civil War.

The South Parlor will host A Mi'Kmaw Woman's Award Winning Legacy, an exhibit featuring the arts and crafts of Madeline (Joe) Knockwood, a Native American artisan from the Mi'Kmaq Nation on loan from Terrie Drew (great-granddaughter) and her family of Nova Scotia, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Items on display will include Mrs. Knockwood's formal regalia, some of her award-winning wooden roses, the hand-made tools of her trade, historical artifacts, photos and information about Mi'Kmaq culture and traditions.

Light refreshments will be served.

See our Exhibits page for a list of additional dates when these exhibits will be available for viewing.

The purchase of materials used to display these exhibits was made possible by a generous grant from the Watertown Community Foundation.

These exhibits are free and open to the public.
For more information, call Joyce at 781-899-7239.


March Public Program

The Restoration of Watertown's Civil War Soldiers' Monument
A presentation by Jon Spector of the Historical Society's Soldiers' Monument Restoration Committee; and David LaRocca, sculptor for the monument restoration

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

The Civil War Soldiers' Monument that stands in Saltonstall Park was erected in 1889.  Over the years, the statue was damaged:  the soldier's nose, hand, cap brim and rifle end were broken off.  The monument sat in disrepair for decades.  The plaza where the monument is located had become dark and gloomy with overgrown trees blocking out the sunlight.  Weeds grew among the scruffy bushes.

In 2012, Jon Spector began a campaign through the Historical Society if Watertown to raise funds to get the monument restored and to revitalize the plaza.  Daedalus, Inc., of Watertown was chosen to restore the monument and David LaRocca was the sculptor chosen to do the restoration work.  The restored monument was rededicated in November, 2013.

During this program, Jon and David will show old photos of the monument, as well as some before and after photos.  They will also discuss the fundraising process.

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

November Public Program

150 on Main
A Documentary of 150 Years of the Watertown Police Department presented by Pam Piantedosi

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
7:00 PM
Community Room
Watertown Police Department
552 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

In 2013, the Watertown Police Department celebrated 150 years in existence.  To honor this event, Pam Piantedosi, former Town Council President and current news anchor at Watertown Cable Access TV, in conjunction with Blue By You Productions, Sydney McGrane, David Russo, The Historical Society of Watertown, The Watertown Free Public Library and a host of other volunteers, brought a story to film.  Please join us as we share this award winning documentary, which depicts the inception of a formalized police department to the events that unfolded in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and the capture of one of the alleged bombers in Watertown.  It's a story that shares a historical perspective of the formation of the distinguished Watertown Police Department and the changes to the inner workings of a department that continues to protect and serve in an exemplary way.

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

Special Event:  Historic Stroller Tour

Sponsored by:
The Historical Society of Watertown
Watertown Family Network

Saturday, October 4, 2014
10:00 AM
Watertown Family Network
30 Common Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Famlies are invited to take a step back in time and learn about the history of Watertown during a historic stroller tour.  Watertown Historical Society Councilor Bob Childs will lead the walk wearing authentic colonial garb.  Families will explore the area around 30 Common Street, then head down to the Watertown Square area and finish at the Fowle House on Marshall Street.  The duration of the walk will be 60-90 minutes.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call Arlene at 617-926-1661 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

September Public Program

Abijah White's Orchard House
A slideshow lecture by Marilynne Roach, Historical Society President; David Russo, Chairperson of the Watertown Historical Commission; and Joyce Kelly, Historical Society Collections Manager

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Orchard House, a large and graceful Greek Revival home, was constructed circa 1832.  It was situated on what was originally a potato farm, but was developed into a cattle farm by one of Watertown's most prominent citizens, Abijah White.  The home has rich historical ties to notable people associated with the Revolution, Abolition and Temperance movements, art, literature and education.  The home was converted for use as a school for girls in the early 20th century and was purchased in 2006 by the Walker Home and School as part of its Beacon High School.

Orchard House, located at 917 Belmont Street, Watertown, is unoccipied at this time.  Despite overwhelming community support, orchard House faces an uncertain future.

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


Special Event:  Ringing of the Bells

Boston Charter Day

Sunday, September 7, 2014
4:30 PM
Church of the Good Shepherd
Redeemer Fellowship Church
Watertown, MA 02472

About Boston Charter Day:  Each year, the Partnership of the Historic Bostons commemorates the naming of Boston, Dorchester and Watertown that occurred on September 7, 1630, and holds a series of events to teach the public about the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Participating historic sites and churches include:
• First Church in Boston
• King's Chapel, Boston
• Old South Meeting House, Boston
• Park Street Church, Boston
• First Baptist Church in Dorchester
• First Parish Dorchester
• St. Gregory Parish, Dorchester
• Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown
• Redeemer Fellowship Church, Watertown

On September 7th at 4:30 PM, bells will ring in Watertown at Church of the Good Shepherd and Redeemer Fellowship Church.

The Historical Society of Watertown is a member of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons and is grateful to all of the participants celebrating this event.