Is the Waltham Watch Factory Defunct?
One person wrote to me:
I don't know that it
was actually abandoned, but it seemed so to me. My family moved to Needham
from the Midwest when I was eleven years old, in 1957, and my father was a
history enthusiast -- the sort who stops the car to read the historical markers.
Such public-sanctioned history as was available in Iowa and Nebraska in those
days was shallow stuff compared with that encountered in greater Boston, so
through the late '50s and early '60s my family would motor around the area, with
my father venturing explanations for what we saw. He was usually accurate, but,
when ignorant, didn't hesitate to guess. By the time we cruised Waltham, we'd
seen plenty of textile ruins to the North. The building, in '59 or ‘60, was
clearly not a going concern, though it may not have been altogether empty.
Since it was big, and on a river, we all assumed it was textile-related.
It's true it was in good shape, but then some of the textile mills were still
operating in those days.
I remember all this as well as I do (and of course some of it's reconstruction) because my Needham High/early college girlfriend (out of contact for twenty-six years) called me from Boston in late summer of '93. In 1965, her parents forced her to marry a dog-food salesman, and I'd fled bitterly from Boston to Michigan. When she called, we found we still got on, and in the fall of ‘93 I drove out and extricated her from her unhappy home and bought her to Michigan. In leaving Boston, I drove through Waltham to get a look at M/A Com (my customer, you recall) and remarked to Margie on the old textile mill, whereupon she told me it was the old Watch Factory. Looking it up later, I found she was right, and that it closed in the late 50's, around the time my family got to Needham, so it was likely in some sort of limbo when I saw it as a kid.
All this personal stuff by way of saying that my memory is suspect.
It sure looks gorgeous from the pictures on the web. Margie and I get to Boston a couple times a year nowadays, and her son lived in Waltham two years ago, so I had a closer look then, but didn't try to get inside. That inside shot is quite dramatic! Looks like a movie set.
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