Calling artists, performers, and other cultural creators! Join the Winchester Cultural Council's online directory of artists by completing our registration form.

With the support of the Winchester Cultural Council and St. Mary's Parish, Winchester's Sharanya School of Odissi Dance presents "Natya Blend", an amalgamation of 3 ancient and distinctive Indian Classical Dance forms portraying peace and justice. October 19, 2018, 6:00 to 7:30 pm. St. Mary's School auditorium, 162 Washington St., Winchester. Free admission, all ages welcome!

The Mass. Memories Road Show comes to Winchester on Saturday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Jenks Center, 109 Skillings Road. All are urged to attend, and to bring three photos to be added to the collection. Long-time and new residents, and even those who only work and play in town, are welcome to contribute to this portrait of who we are today.

The history of Massachusetts and Winchester is much more than the stories of famous people. It is the collective story of its citizenry – not only those who have lived here all or most of their lives, but also those who have arrived recently or lived or visited. All contributions to this project are greatly valued, and we hope you will take this opportunity to add the stories of your family to our local history.

Be sure to bring photos for inclusion! Project staff will scan up to three of your photos on the spot, so you don't have to part with your originals. All scanned information becomes part of the state-wide digital archive, and a copy will also be added to our local archives, library and WinCam.

For more information please call Project Director Nancy Schrock at 781-572-6432 or send an email to archives@winchester.us.


This program is supported in part by a grant from the Winchester Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

On this Columbus Day, many are urging that we also remember America's indigenous people, the "Indians." Winchester has an explicit connection to the original residents of our area through our town nickname, the Sachems. A sachem (or sagamore) was a chief, leader, or king of the native peoples. Winchester's adoption of the name was particularly due to a woman, "Squaw Sachem," who was queen of the local indigenous tribes and the widow of Nanepashemet, who once ruled lands stretching from Weymouth north to Portsmouth, N.H., and as far west as Northfield. Sachem Nanepashemet was killed  in 1619, in Medford, fighting Tarratines (Abnakis) who had invaded from Maine, leaving his wife, three sons, and a daughter.

Squaw Sachem and her sons were notably friendly with the English colonists and generally allied with them. Her people, however, were decimated by war and plagues mostly associated with the European settlers—including smallpox, which killed two of her sons, Sagamore John (Wonohaquaham) and Sagamore James (Montowampate) in 1633.

In 1638 Charlestown granted its citizens permission to settle land to the north, including Winchester, accelerating a movement that had already been occurring. Around that time Squaw Sachem sold her land in and around Winchester to settlers, reserving the right for her people to live, hunt and fish there during her lifetime. The sale is memorialized by the WPA mural above the circulation desk in the Winchester Public Library.

Squaw Sachem mural
Squaw Sachem mural at the Winchester Library

Squaw Sachem's favorite residence was probably on the west side of Upper Mystic Lake, near Winchester Country Club, where there was a "Squaw Sachem spring" that was visited by her people for many years after  her death. Herbert Meyer Brook on Myopia Hill was originally known as "Squaw Sachem stream."

The story of Squaw Sachem is a great lesson in local history, and is one illustration of the complex interactions between the native inhabitants and the immigrants who went on to create our modern landscape—laying the groundwork for the many new immigrants who continue to arrive here. It is interesting, too, to note that Winchester's "native American" nickname memorializes a relationship with a particular individual, a relationship that was notable for peace and friendship. Finally, in this day and age, it is worth celebrating that that individual was a woman—one of power, grace and fortitude.

More information about Squaw Sachem and the selection of the "Sachems" nickname (which dates only from the early 1950s) can be found at "The Sachems of Winchester" on the Popular Topics in Winchester History page on the town website.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend these events in the Summer and Fall of 2018, all supported by grants from the Winchester Cultural Council!

★ The Family Farm Night Music Series at Wright-Locke Farm, June and July 2018 (6 Thursday Nights), from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Note that these outdoor concerts might be canceled in case of inclement weather. June 14: Ten Penny Ransom; June 21: Sorry Honeys; June 28: Karen K & the Jitterbugs (rained out); July 5: Miss Ellaneous;  July 12: Ben Rudnick & Friends; July 19: Hank Wonder. August 2: Karen K & the Jitterbugs (rescheduled!)

★ Family Concert on the Winchester Common with Roger Tincknell, August 8, 2018, presented by the North Suburban Child & Family Resource Network

★ "Generations of Fun: A Grandparents' Day Celebration" with storyteller and singer Davis Bates at the Jenks Center on September 9, 2018. All grandparents, grandchildren, and their friends are invited.

★ Folktale Puppet Shows: "Immigrants, Past and Present" on the Winchester Common at "International Day at the Farmer's Market", September 29, 2018, presented by the Ethnic Arts Center.

★ The Mass. Memories Road Show comes to Winchester on October 20, 2018. Sponsored by the  Winchester Archival Center; specific details are forthcoming.

The Winchester  Cultural Council has awarded $5,583 in LCC grants to 10 individuals and organizations for 2018. The funded projects expand cultural opportunities for Winchester’s young students and senior citizens, help Winchester residents hear distinguished local performers, and use art to celebrate and strengthen our community. Projects include a documentary film, "The Greening of Winchester"; two special events at the Jenks Center; a classical Indian dance performance in the fall; the Family Farm Night Music Series at Wright-Locke Farm on summer Thursday nights; a family concert on the Common by by Roger Tincknell; special puppet shows at the Farmer's Market's International Day in September; arts enrichment programs for children at Lincoln School and those attending after-school programs; and the Mass. Memories Road Show on October 20.
The Winchester Cultural Council is in need of new members for the coming year. Cultural Council members are volunteers who are appointed by the town's Select Board; love of the arts is important, but no special skills are required. The Council meets monthly, gives cultural grants annually, and provides many opportunities to enrich our town. To apply, send a letter stating your interest to the Select Board at Town Hall.