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Watertown Arsenal

Watertown, Massachusetts
Completed 1816

Claim to Fame: The Watertown Arsenal was the first major engineering testing laboratory in the United States. The dissemination of its test results made this arsenal of special significance to the civil engineering profession.

Watertown Arsenal
Courtesy Wikipedia/Jack E. Boucher

The Watertown Arsenal was the first major engineering testing laboratory in America. It was created to store and manufacture cutting-edge military technology and weaponry. The United States Army Research and Materials Laboratory continued to use the site until 1989, employing soldiers and civilians to produce and test artillery.

During the period when iron, steel, and concrete became major construction materials, the tests conducted at the arsenal played an important role in establishing engineering standards for these materials. During its peak, the 130-acre facility employed 10,000 people.