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The Town of Watertown is a city in Middlesex Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 32,986 at the 2000 census.


Watertown, first known as Saltonstall Plantation, was one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Baymarker settlements. It was begun early in 1630 by a group of settlers led by Sir Richard Saltonstall and the Rev. George Phillips and 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 Cambridgemarker known as Gerry's Landing. For its first quarter century Watertown ranked next to Bostonmarker 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 Westonmarker (1712), Walthammarker (1738), Belmontmarker (1859), and Lincolnmarker. 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 government in the colony. As early as the close of the 17th century Watertown was the chief horse and cattle market in New Englandmarker and was known for its fertile gardens and fine estates. Here about 1632 was erected the first grist mill in the colony, and in 1662 one of the first woolen mills in America was built here.
Saltonstall's landing spot in Watertown also known as Elbridge Gerry Landing
The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, after adjournment from Concordmarker, 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 Housemarker. Boston town meetings were held here during the siege of Bostonmarker, when many Boston families made their homes in the neighborhood. For several months early in the American Revolution the Committees of Safety and Correspondence made Watertown their headquarters and it was from here that General Joseph Warren set out for Bunker Hillmarker.
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.

The Watertown Arsenalmarker 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 Perkins School for the Blindmarker, founded in 1829, has been located in Watertown since 1912.

The Stanley Brothers built the first of their steam-powered cars, which came to be known as Stanley Steamers, in Watertown in 1897.[17975]

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.

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 Artsmarker, a regional arts center that opened in 2005.


Watertown is located at (42.371296, -71.181961). To the north, it is bordered by the town of Belmontmarker, along Belmont Street; to the south, it is bordered by Newtonmarker and Brighton - the border being largely formed by the Charles River. However, 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 Cambridgemarker, the border to which is almost entirely the well-known Mount Auburn Cemeterymarker, most of which is actually in Watertown (though commonly believed to be in Cambridge). To the west lies the more expansive city of Walthammarker, but there is no clear geographic feature dividing the two municipalities.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.8 km²), of which 4.1 square miles (10.6 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km² or 1.20%) is water.


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/sq mi (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.

Armenians in Watertown

Watertown is a major center of the Armenian diaspora in the United States, with the third-largest Armenian community in the United Statesmarker, estimated at over 8,000 as of 2007. Watertown ranks only behind the California cities of Glendalemarker and Fresnomarker. However, the census of 2000 put the Armenian population at 2,708 or 8.2 percent.Watertown is also the venue for the publication of long-running Armenian newspapers in English and Armenian including: Hairenik Association also runs a web radio and a web TV station.


As property values within the Boston metropolitan area continue to rise, Watertown has gained in appeal as an attractive, affordable alternative to more expensive communities such as Cambridgemarker, Brooklinemarker, Belmontmarker, and Bostonmarker proper. Close to Soldiers Field Road and the Massachusetts Turnpike, major arteries into downtown Boston, Watertown has easy access to both Boston nightlife and more suburban communities such as Newtonmarker. Watertown Squaremarker is the terminus of several MBTA bus and trackless trolley routes. The former A-Watertown branch of the MBTA Green Line ran to Watertown until 1969.

Notable residents


  • Rachel Kaprielian, head of Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and former state representative
  • Thomas Reilly, Massachusetts attorney general (Jan. 1999 to Jan. 2007)
  • Steven A. Tolman, State Senator
  • Warren Tolman, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2001


  • The Watertown High School Raiders won the Division III State Championship for basketball during the 2006–07 and 2008-09 seasons.
  • Watertown Raiders field hockey has won numerous state championships from the 1980s up to the present decade.
  • Watertown Pop Warner football won back-to-back eastern Mass. state championships for division II in 2007 and 2008.
  • Watertown youth hockey won the state championship for youth hockey division II in 2005-06.


See also


  1. Young, Alexander (1846). Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1623-1636, pp. 313-14. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown.
  2. Hodges, Maud deLeigh. 1980. Crossroads on the Charles. Phoenix Publishing, Canaan, NH
  3. History of the AMTL
  4. Keith O'Brien, "ADL local leader fired on Armenian issue", The Boston Globe, August 18, 2007.
  5. U.S. Census Bureau - Ancestry:2000 - Watertown town, Massachusetts

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