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Nathan Tufts Park/Powder House Park

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<p>In a way, Nathan Tufts Park all began with a windmill. In the early 1700s, French immigrant Jean Maillet built a windmill atop a hill in what is now Somerville. He couldn't have known that the 30-foot-tall stone structure would one day play a role in the American Revolution—or that two centuries later, it would become Somerville's most prominent landmark and the crowing feature of a park.</p>
<p>After Maillet stopped milling grain, colonists began storing gunpowder within the mill's thick stone walls. When the British raided the cache in 1774, the colonists were so enraged that historians consider the event a trigger of the revolution. After the war, a farming family named Tufts purchased the land and in 1892 gave it (and the mill/powder house) to the city. A park was created and named for Tufts family member Nathan Tufts.</p> <p>Today, the park retains the graceful curving paths and stately landscaping intended by the original designers. (One path follows an old carriageway.) Used mostly for passive recreation—walking, playing quietly, and relaxing—it offers a peaceful respite from busy Powder House Square. Others make use of the small basketball court. A stone field house, built during the Great Depression as part of the WPA (Work Project Administration) Project is now used for youth programs and community meetings. And not only is the park on the National Register of Historic Places, the powder house is pictured on the Somerville city seal.</p> <p><b>Fun fact:</b> The powder house has stored more than gunpowder. In the 1800s, a pickle maker found it to be the perfect, cool place for storing his "Old Powder House" brand pickles. For a wonderful brochure on the park filled with similar fun facts, click <a href="http://www.somervillema.gov/aud3.cfm?aud=vis&cat=VisPlaces&instance_id=40">here</a>.</p>
College Ave & Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144
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  • Accessibility Details: Wide, paved pathways, but some are at an incline.
  • Hours: Daily, 8am - 10 pm
  • Accessible: yes
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