Introduction | Writeup Directions | Helpful Hints
Here's what a group of 5th and 6th graders at the Watertown, Massachusetts Boys and Girls Club had to say about their Local Wonders investigation:
After talking about different types of structures and foundations, we brainstormed a list of interesting structures in our town: one girl's 10-story apartment building, an elementary school with a recent addition, a new parking garage, and more. We took a vote and decided to investigate St. Patrick's, an elaborate church across the street from the Boys and Girls Clubhouse.
We brainstormed a list of 12 questions, including "How did they decide where to build it?"; "Why did they use arches?"; "What is the meaning of the stained glass?"; and "What's underneath the building?"
At the library, we found a book about Watertown's history that told the story of when and why St. Patrick's was built. The Historical Society had some photographs of what the church looked like at different times in its history. We visited the Watertown Building Inspector's office and got the building's plans and copies of its renovation permits. Then we took a tour of the building and asked questions. Afterwards, we used all the information to make a timeline about the building's history.
Here is their Local Wonders report:
St. Patrick's Church
Location: Watertown, Massachusetts
Completion Date: 1901
Height: 100 feet
Name of group submitting report:
Watertown Boys and Girls Club
Why we chose this Local Wonder:
It's interesting looking. We wanted to know more about it, like why the builders used arches and what is it made of. It's also near our clubhouse, and someone in our group goes there.
What's important about our Local Wonder:
People go to services there. It was built after a Catholic church in Waltham burned down and the people needed a new church. Since most of the people lived in Watertown, they decided to build the new church there.
Things we learned about our Local Wonder:
It is designed in the Romanesque style. The arches hold up the roof and make a big open space inside. Also, the big space echoes so that you wouldn't need a microphone. The stained glass lets in light and was donated by church members (some of the windows have their names on them).
Fun facts about our Local Wonder:
We estimated that there are 432 little stained glass windows and 240 stairs. We think there are so many stairs because when they first built it, they didn't have elevators, and people wouldn't want to climb really big stairs.