Today, I continued my visits to old Somerville sites, taking a docent-led tour of Powder House Park. This is more impressive visually than the Milk Row Cemetery I visited last week – at least from the outside. We got to enter the Powder House itself, which is normally locked. But it’s essentially an empty three-story stone cylinder of a building. It warrants its own page on Atlas Obscura.
The Powder House is pretty historic, however. It was an old windmill sold to the Province of Massachusetts in 1747 and from then on used as a powder house. What made it famous was an incident on September 1, 1774. General Gage marched his troops to the Powder House and emptied its store of powder kegs, bringing them back to Castle Island. Technically, it was the King’s powder, but it led to protests by more than 2,000 residents. Eventually the Lieutenant Governor resigned because of it. Some call it a pivotal moment in cementing the revolutionary minds, leading eventually to the American Revolution. Indeed, it’s enough to warrant honoring on the City’s seal.
There’ll be one last stop on my visit to Historic Somerville tour sites this summer. I’m glad they’re running this series and giving us special access inside these historic sites.