Watertown Arsenal Historic District
|NRHP reference #||99000498|
|Added to NRHP||May 14, 1999|
The Watertown Arsenal was a major American arsenal located on the northern shore of the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts. The site is now registered on the ASCE's List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks and on the U.S.'s National Register of Historic Places, and it is home to a park, restaurants, mixed use office space, and currently serves as the national headquarters for athenahealth.
An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, or issued, in any combination, whether privately or publicly owned. Arsenal and armoury or armory are mostly regarded as synonyms, although subtle differences in usage exist.
The Charles River is an 80-mile-long (129 km) long river in eastern Massachusetts. From its source in Hopkinton the river flows in a northeasterly direction, traveling through 23 cities and towns before reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston. The Native-American name for the Charles River was Quinobequin, meaning "meandering".
Watertown is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and is part of the Greater Boston area. The population was 31,915 in the 2010 census. Its neighborhoods include Bemis, Coolidge Square, East Watertown, Watertown Square, and the West End. It is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that retain the title of “town” while functioning under state law as cities.
The arsenal was established in 1816, on 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land, by the United States Army for the receipt, storage, and issuance of ordnance. In this role, it replaced the earlier Charlestown Arsenal. The arsenal's earliest plan incorporated 12 buildings aligned along a north-south axis overlooking the river. Alexander Parris, later designer of Quincy Market, was architect. Buildings included a military store and arsenal, as well as shops and housing for officers and men. All were made of brick with slate roofs in the Federal style, and a high wall enclosed the compound. By 1819 all buildings were completed and occupied.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
Ammunition is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon. Ammunition is both expendable weapons and the component parts of other weapons that create the effect on a target. Nearly all mechanical weapons require some form of ammunition to operate.
The Charlestown Arsenal was an arsenal of the United States Army that existed from 1794 to 1816 in Charlestown, Boston. Abandoned at the end of the War of 1812, the land was turned over to the United States Navy, which then built the Charlestown Navy Yard beginning in 1816.
The arsenal's site, duties, and buildings grew gradually until the American Civil War, enlarging beyond the original quadrangle. During the war it greatly expanded to produce field and coastal gun carriages, and the war's impetus led to the quick construction of a large machine shop and smith shop built as contemporary factories, as well as a number of smaller buildings.
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
During the Civil War, a new commander's quarters was commissioned by then-Capt. Thomas J. Rodman, inventor of the Rodman gun. The lavish, 12,700 sq ft (1,180 m2), quarters would ultimately become one of the largest commander's quarters on any U.S. military installation. This mansion is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The expense ($63,478.65) was considered wasteful and excessive and drew a stern rebuke from Congress, who then promoted Rodman to Brigadier General and sent him to command Rock Island Arsenal on the frontier in Illinois, where he built an even larger commander's quarters.
Thomas Jackson Rodman was an American artillerist, inventor, ordnance specialist, and career United States Army officer. He served as a Union Army officer during the American Civil War, in which he was noted for his many improvements and innovations concerning the artillery used by the Union forces.
The Rodman gun is any of a series of American Civil War–era columbiads designed by Union artilleryman Thomas Jackson Rodman (1815–1871). The guns were designed to fire both shot and shell. These heavy guns were intended to be mounted in seacoast fortifications. They were built in 8-inch, 10-inch, 13-inch, 15-inch, and 20-inch bore. Other than size, the guns were all nearly identical in design, with a curving bottle shape, large flat cascabels with ratchets or sockets for the elevating mechanism. Rodman guns were true guns that did not have a howitzer-like powder chamber, as did many earlier columbiads. Rodman guns differed from all previous artillery because they were hollow cast, a new technology that Rodman developed that resulted in cast-iron guns that were much stronger than their predecessors.
The Commanding Officer's Quarters, Watertown Arsenal is a historic house at 443 Arsenal Street in Watertown, Massachusetts. During the American Civil War, a new commander's quarters was commissioned by then-Capt. Thomas J. Rodman, inventor of the Rodman gun, for the Watertown Arsenal. The lavish, 12,700 sq ft (1,180 m2), quarters would ultimately become one of the largest commander's quarters on any U.S. military installation. The expense ($63,478.65) was considered wasteful and excessive and drew a stern rebuke from Congress, who then promoted Rodman to Brigadier General and sent him to command Rock Island Arsenal on the frontier in Illinois, where he built an even larger commander's quarters. The Watertown commander's quarters house now houses offices and a museum about the arsenal.
Activities and new construction at the Watertown Arsenal continued to gradually expand until the early 1890s.
Activities changed decisively in 1892 when Congress authorized modernization to gun carriage manufacturing. At this point the arsenal became a manufacturing complex rather than storage depot. A number of major buildings were constructed, which over time began to reflect typical industrial facilities rather than the earlier arsenal styles. In 1897 an additional 44 acres (180,000 m2) were purchased, and a hospital built.
Scientific management was implemented at the arsenal between 1908 and 1915. It was considered by the War Department as successful in saving money over the alternatives; but it was so hated by the work force that the Congress eventually overturned its use.
Scientific management is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows. Its main objective is improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. Scientific management is sometimes known as Taylorism after its founder, Frederick Winslow Taylor.
During World War I the arsenal nearly tripled in size. Building #311 was then reported to be one of the largest steel-frame structures in the United States, sized to accommodate both very large gun carriages and the equipment used to construct them. Railroad tracks ran throughout the arsenal complex. World War II brought an additional 7 acres (28,000 m2) with existing industrial buildings, as the arsenal produced steel artillery pieces. In 1959–1960, the Horace Hardy Lester Reactor was constructed on site, for material research programs, and operated there until 1970.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
In 1968 the Army ceased operations at the arsenal; 45 acres (180,000 m2) were sold to the Watertown Redevelopment Authority, while the remaining 48 acres (190,000 m2) were converted to the United States Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center (AMMRC), renamed the United States Army Materials Technology Laboratory (MTL) in 1985. In 1995 all Army activity ceased and the remainder of the site was converted to civilian use.
The Armory site was formerly included on US EPA's National Priorities List of highly contaminated sites, more widely known as Superfund. The site was removed from the NPL in 2006.
Fort Schuyler is a preserved 19th century fortification in the New York City borough of the Bronx. It houses a museum, the Stephen B. Luce Library, and the Marine Transportation Department and Administrative offices of the State University of New York Maritime College. It is considered one of the finest examples of early 19th century fortifications. The fort was named in honor of Major General Philip Schuyler of the Continental Army.
The Springfield Armory, located in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, was the primary center for the manufacture of United States military firearms from 1777 until its closing in 1968. It was the first federal armory and one of the first factories in the United States dedicated to the manufacture of weapons. The site is preserved as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Western Massachusetts' only unit of the national park system. It features the world's largest collection of historic American firearms.
Fort Knox, now Fort Knox State Park or Fort Knox State Historic Site, is located on the western bank of the Penobscot River in the town of Prospect, Maine, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the mouth of the river. Built between 1844 and 1869, it was the first fort in Maine built entirely of granite; most previous forts used wood, earth, and stone. It is named after Major General Henry Knox, the first U.S. Secretary of War and Commander of Artillery during the American Revolutionary War, who at the end of his life lived not far away in Thomaston. As a virtually intact example of a mid-19th century granite coastal fortification, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and declared a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970. Fort Knox also serves as the entry site for the observation tower of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge that opened to the public in 2007.
Fort Monroe is a decommissioned military installation in Hampton, Virginia at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula, United States. Along with Fort Wool, Fort Monroe originally guarded the navigation channel between the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads—the natural roadstead at the confluence of the Elizabeth, the Nansemond and the James rivers. Until disarmament in 1946, the areas protected by the fort were the entire Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River regions, including the water approaches to the cities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, along with important shipyards and naval bases in the Hampton Roads area. Surrounded by a moat, the six-sided bastion fort is the largest fort by area ever built in the United States.
The Rock Island Arsenal comprises 946 acres (383 ha), located on Arsenal Island, originally known as Rock Island, on the Mississippi River between the cities of Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois. It lies within the state of Illinois. It is home of First Army headquarters. The island was originally established as a government site in 1816, with the building of Fort Armstrong. It is now the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States. It has manufactured military equipment and ordnance since the 1880s. In 1919–1920 one hundred of the Anglo-American or Liberty Mark VIII tanks were manufactured, although too late for World War I. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Fort Hancock is a former United States Army fort at Sandy Hook in Middletown Township New Jersey. The coastal artillery base defended the Atlantic coast and the entrance to New York Harbor, with its first gun batteries operational in 1896. Between 1874 and 1919, the adjacent US Army Sandy Hook Proving Ground was operated in conjunction with Fort Hancock. It is now part of Fort Hancock Memorial Park. It was preceded by the Fort at Sandy Hook, built 1857–1867 and demolished beginning in 1885.
Rock Island National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located within Rock Island Arsenal near the city of Rock Island, Illinois. Administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, it encompasses 66 acres (27 ha), and as of the end of 2006, had 24,525 interments. The cemetery is also nearing compliance with the National Shrine guidelines, due to its use of college students during the summer to reset and realign stones. When looking from any one stone there should be seven lines visible and all should be straight.
The Watervliet Arsenal is an arsenal of the United States Army located in Watervliet, New York, on the west bank of the Hudson River. It is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, and today produces much of the artillery for the army, as well as gun tubes for cannons, mortars, and tanks. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966.
Fort Mott, located in Pennsville, Salem County, New Jersey, was part of the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware, a three-fort defense system designed for the Delaware River during the postbellum and Endicott program modernization periods following the American Civil War and in the 1890s. The other two forts in the system were Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware.
Dutch Island is an island lying west of Conanicut Island at an entrance to Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, United States. It is part of the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has a land area of 0.4156 km². It was uninhabited as of the United States Census, 2000. The island was fortified from the American Civil War through World War II and was known as Fort Greble from 1898 to 1947.
Fort Popham is a Civil War-era coastal defense fortification at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Phippsburg, Maine. It is located in sight of the short-lived Popham Colony and, like the colony, named for George Popham, the colony's leader.
The Liberty Arsenal, known by Federal authorities as the Missouri Depot was a United States Army arsenal at Liberty, Missouri in Clay County, Missouri. The depot was seized twice by Southern partisans, once during the Kansas troubles in 1855, and again shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War. It was located generally west of the junction of Missouri Route 291 and old 210 Highway.
Fort Dalles was a United States Army outpost located on the Columbia River at the present site of The Dalles, Oregon, in the United States. Built when Oregon was a territory, the post was used mainly for dealing with wars with Native Americans. The post was first known as Camp Drum and then Fort Drum.
Battery Chamberlin is an artillery battery in the Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States. The battery is named in honor of Captain Lowell A. Chamberlin, who had served with distinction in the Civil War. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976.
Fort Taber District or the Fort at Clark's Point is a historic American Civil War-era military fort on Wharf Road within the former Fort Rodman Military Reservation in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The fort is now part of Fort Taber Park, a 47-acre town park located at Clark's Point. Fort Taber was an earthwork built nearby with city resources and garrisoned 1861-1863 until Fort Rodman was ready for service.
The Commandant's Quarters at the Dearborn Arsenal is a United States military structure located at 21950 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, Michigan. Built in the early 1830s, it is the oldest building in Dearborn still located on its original site. It is considered to be one of the seven most significant buildings in Michigan. It was designated as a Michigan State Historic Site in 1956 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Fort McKinley is a former United States Army coastal defense fort on Great Diamond Island, Maine in Casco Bay, which operated from 1873 to 1947. It was named for President William McKinley. It included a sub-post, Fort Lyon, on Cow Island, just north of Great Diamond Island. Fort Lyon was named for Nathaniel Lyon. Both forts were part of the Coast Defenses of Portland, renamed the Harbor Defenses of Portland in 1925, a command which protected Portland's port and naval anchorage 1895-1950. In 1946 Fort Lyon was closed and turned over to the City of Portland. After Fort McKinley's closure it was transferred to the United States Navy, which sold the site to private interests in 1961. The Fort McKinley Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
Daniel Webster Flagler was a United States Army Brigadier General. He was prominent as the Army's 9th Chief of Ordnance for the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.