watertownArcheological evidence suggests that Watertown was inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from England. Two Native American tribes, the Pequossette and the Nonantum, had settlements on the banks of the river later called the Charles. The Pequossette built a fishing weir to trap herring at the site of the current Watertown dam. The annual fish migration, as both alewife and blueback herring swim upstream from their adult home in the sea to spawn in the fresh water where they were hatched, still occurs every spring.

Watertown, first known as Saltonstall Plantation, was one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay 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.




Recreational Activities