The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Waltham

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WALTHAM, wŏl'thạm, Mass., city in Middlesex County, on the Charles River and on the Boston and Maine Railroad, 10 miles west of Boston. It is connected by electric railway with Boston, Newton, and surrounding towns.

Waltham was settled by farmers in the early days of the colony. The first incorporation was that of Watertown, which then embraced the territory now included in Waltham. In 1738 Waltham was set off from Watertown and incorporated as a town; and in 1884 it was granted a city charter. The chief manufacturing establishments are the two famous watch factories. At the American Waltham Watch Works, the first successful attempt was made to manufacture watch movements, on a large scale, by machinery. It is now the largest watch factory of its kind in the world. In 1814 a cotton mill was erected here, the first in the United States in which, under the same roof, the raw material was put through all necessary forms, even through the bleachery and the dye works, and came out the finished cotton cloth of the market. Other manufactories are saddlery and harness works, foundry and machine shops, wagon and carriage factories, emery wheel works, lumber mills, furniture factories and men's clothing factories. The value of the annual products is about $10,000,000.

The principal public buildings are the government building, the municipal buildings, banks, churches and schools. There is one large park and a number of small squares. The waterworks are owned and operated by the city. The main business streets and many of those in the residential sections are paved. The roads leading to the near-by villages and towns are well made and kept in good repair. The pure water, favorable climate and good sewerage make the place most healthful. There are 17 churches representing 10 different denominations. The educational institutions are the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded, the Waltham Nurses' Training School, the Notre Dame Normal Training School, a public high school and two private schools doing high school work, Saint Mary's School (Roman Catholic) and Waltham New Church School (New Jerusalem Church). There are several commercial schools and Mellor's Commercial College, public and parish graded elementary schools, public evening schools, several private schools, a public library which contains about 40,000 volumes and several school libraries. There are two banks, one national and one state, and two daily newspapers. The government is administered under a charter of 1893 which provides for a mayor elected annually and a common council. The mayor appoints, subject to approval of the council, the majority of the administration officials, but the board of education is chosen by popular vote. Pop. 30,154. Consult Hurd, ‘History of Middlesex County.’