Cochituate State Park
History Outline
by A. Richard Miller
visits since 070516; last updated 080331.

This is my draft outline for a museum-based history of Cochituate State Park. It's useful for other purposes, as well. Most of these topics have supporting information elsewhere on this web site; to find more, you can enter phrases in the local search engine at the top of our home page:

Proposal for a museum-based history of Cochituate State Park:
Create a nature center/museum as a focus for casual park visitors and for regular school visits and the like. Invite Natick Praying Indians, MWRA, local historical societies, libraries, Mass. Audubon and other groups (and CSP GOALS Study author Andy Backman, Jill and Dick Miller) to help.

1. Glacial Lake Sudbury, and the one-day formation of the Great Sand Plain of Framingham (burying great blocks of ice which will melt to become Cochituate's chain of kettle ponds).

2. Early and pre-Colonial Native American culture. (Build a long house, use it for interpretation? Feature the "Three Sisters" of Indian planting, and Lake Cochituate as the connection point for paddlers -- a Grand Central Station between the Blackstone, Charles, Sudbury, Concord and Merrimack river systems -- for Indian-village trips including summers on the seashore.)

3. About 1651, Natick founded by Natick Praying Indians, based on Charles River (their "road") in South Natick and whose territory includes Cochituate ("place of falling water"). Despite being forced to winter on Deer Island during King Philip's war, these Praying Indians remain loyal to the English; they volunteer and save the Massachusetts Bay Colony from annihilation. Many survivors are scattered, their lands taken by colonists. Mohawks raid the palisaded village of Cochituate (by westbound Exit 13 on MassPike) in winter of 1676-77(?), march off fourteen(?) Natick Praying Indians who disappear forever.

4. New England: farms, mills, shoe factories and "ten-footers". Many mills share riparian rights to Long Pond (ex-Cochituate).

5. 1846-48, Boston aquires property and riparian rights, develops Cochituate Reservoir (and Saxonville Branch RR, the proposed Cochituate Rail Trail). Mills on Cochituate Brook replaced by Saxonville Mills (later, Roxbury Carpet Co.). Framingham and Natick produce wealthy mill owners, and one becomes Vice President of the United States of America. (His best friend becomes Beethoven's most famous biographer.) Later expansions of Boston Water Works/MDC/MWRA, at Lake Cochituate (1846-1947?) and beyond. (Cochituate Reservoir brings limnology to New England. Cochituate Gate House and Aqueduct. Germ theory; Desmond Fitzgerald designs Pegan Brook Filter Beds. Mention torpedo testing during WW II.)

6. 1947-present, Cochituate Reservoir becomes Cochituate State Park. Past and current recreation patterns. Its wildlife, past and present, etc.

7. Future proposals for CSP: Cochituate Rail Trail, preservation of this natural treasure in an urbanized area, water quality, invasive weeds, etc. (How visitors can help.)

This Web page has been created by Dick Miller of the Natick Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee. Please e-mail your comments to him at