Thursday, January 5, 2012

Norumbega Point

From Dave Brigham:

Viking Tower #7

History is ever changing. Archeologists dig up tools, weapons and ceramics and recalibrate their assumptions about who lived in a certain place, when, and what they ate and how they obtained certain objects and skills. Historians are handed long-forgotten letters hidden away in somebody's attic, and realize they need to revisit certain assumptions about an author, a war or a religion.

It's not often, however, that you see monuments built to false history.

The Norumbega Tower is such an edifice.

The tower was commissioned by Eben Horsford, a 19th century Harvard chemistry professor who believed that Vikings had once occupied the site in Weston, MA, where Stony Brook empties into the Charles River. Horsford believed that the local Indian name Norumbega was a Native American translation of "Norway." As such, he was convinced that Vikings had settled in the area in 1000 A.D., and so paid for the large stone tower to honor these brave explorers.

Viking Tower #1

Viking Tower #10

Modern historians refute the idea that Vikings landed on these shores nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. For more on the subject, check out this Straight Dope column.

Across the Charles River from the tower sits the former site of Norumbega Park, a "trolley park" that ceased operations in the '60s. For a piece about the former amusement park, see December 28, 2011, "Amusement Park Ghosts."

1 comment:

  1. I still like the legend of Norembega........ sounds cool that a thousand years later two brothers born at the tower would return to the Viking Islands.... check it out two did almost exactly a thousand years later.... and they were both born right next to the tower..... Google "Smallest Powerboat to Cross the Atlantic".