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Charles River Path – Galen Street

Guidebook Section: North

Location

 

Get here by MBTA: Many bus lines end on Galen Street at Watertown Square

Other maps and aerial photos:
Bing

Connects to:
Charles River Path: Bridge Street to Moody Street

Overview

The Riverwalk features vestiges of one of the oldest dams on the Charles River, with remains of raceways built by David Bemis in 1778, and scenic views of the Charles River. The path from Galen Street in Watertown Square, improved by the MDC in 1998, offers scenic overlooks, a fish ladder at Watertown Dam, falls, fishing areas, and boat launches.

Forte Park, formerly Allison Park, features a soccer field, basketball courts, children’s playground, and restrooms. On summer evenings, herons roost on the Charles River bank next to the park.

Size: About 1 mile long

Longest Walk: 2 mile loop


Acquired: 1960

Owner & Administrator Websites


Photo Gallery

First three photos shown here. Click a photo to view the complete slideshow or click here to browse the complete gallery.

History

1753

David Bemis bought 37 acres surrounding the river.

1760

Bemis Mill and Millrace built.

1778

Raceway built by David Bemis on 1/2 acre.

1821

Rolling stone dam built

1822

Breached rolling stone dam built to power textile mills owned by the Bemis family on both sides of the river.

1880s

Aetna Textile Mill Building constructed.

1944

Dam breached.

1974

MDC was persuaded not to rebuild dam and to leave the breach as a passage for anadromous fish to lay eggs upstream, the fry returning to the ocean.

1998

Riverwalk built from Galen Street to Bridge Street.

Charles River Path – Galen Street Map

Charles River Path Galen to Bridge Street


 

Features

Accessible Trails, Biking, Birding, Boat Launch, Charles River Walk, Cross Country Skiing, Historic Site, Picnic Tables, Playground, Scenic View, Sports Fields, Woods Trail
 

Additional Information

Newton Assessor’s Map ID: [many separate parcels]

Walks and Maps:

Walks along the Charles

DCR website and map

This park is part of Walk 25 in the book, WalkBoston

More about the Blue Heron Trail

General Descriptions:

Essay by Alison Leary

Wikipedia

Boston Globe article

Wildflowers Near the Charles River

Forte Park is a small city park on this route.

History:

Bemis Dam

Discover Historic Nonantum brochure

Newton Patch: More than “Dirty Water”: The History of the Charles River in Newton

Watertown Dam

Government agency information:

1975 Charles River Pathway Plan

1998 Upper Charles River Master Plan

2003 Upper Charles River Reservation project update

US Environmental Protection Agency

Photos:

The Charles River in the 1970s