Random Fun Facts About Watertown

Whether you’ve lived in Watertown one year or twenty, it’s easy to feel like a native here pretty quickly. But there are some quirky facts about our amazing town that really sets it apart from other places in the Boston area  – how well do you know your Watertown trivia? Ready to get your mind blown a little? Check out these random facts you might not have ever heard!

  1. George Washington slept here. No, really – he did! On July 2, 1775, General Washington arrived in Watertown and ate at the Coolidge Tavern, which is now the trolley terminal on Galen Street. The next day he traveled over to Cambridge, where he assumed formal command of the Revolutionary Army.

  2. We have a plumbing museum. Yep, anything you would ever want to know about piping technology and innovation is housed right here in Watertown, at The Plumbing Museum on Rosedale Road! Ever heard of an earth closet? Tour this amazing space and you’ll learn about these earliest versions of sanitation, browse through collections of vintage toilet paper, and get to see a wood-trimmed claw-footed tub dating back to the 1800s. The Plumbing Museum also hosts all kinds of classes and events, leases out its space, and even offers an Artist in Residence program!

  3. Lots of famous people call Watertown their final resting place! It’s no secret to most locals that Mount Auburn Cemetery is home to some of the most famous gravesites in the country. But many people don’t realize that most of this historic landmark sits on Watertown land – and along with it, the final resting places of luminaries like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Polaroid camera inventor Edwin Land, Isabella Stuart Gardiner of local museum fame, Charles Bullfinch (who designed the US Capitol), and Boston restauranteur and TV celebrity Joyce Chen.

  4. Its river is a lot longer than it looks. Most of us have walked along the Charles River, biked across it, or even boated on it. The River is one of the prettiest parts of our city and such an integral part that we see every day. It might surprise you to hear that, because its route has significant twists and turns, the Charles end-to-end is actually 80 miles long, and travels through 23 different communities! And another fun fact – its brownish color has nothing to do with how clean the water is. Because it’s so slow moving, the water takes on the color of the muddy wetlands along its path.

  5. Watertown has seen its share of “firsts”! As one of the earliest Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements, Watertown saw a lot of innovation and pioneer spirit back in the day. Settled in 1630, it was second only to Boston in terms of geography and population. Decades before the Boston Tea Party, Watertown served as the backdrop for America’s first protest against taxation without representation back in 1632. It built the nation’s first gristmill, along with one of its first woolen mills, built in 1662.