Emerson’s Pickle Factory Plaque – Somerville, Massachusetts - Gastro Obscura

Emerson’s Pickle Factory Plaque

Nathan Tufts Park

This unassuming stone commemorates a condiment factory gone up in smoke. 


Located just outside Boston, the Old Powder House is the oldest stone building in the state of Massachusetts. The stone-walled structure was once used for gun powder storage in anticipation of the American Revolution. On your way to visit this historical landmark, you’ll also find what’s left of condiment manufacturer George W. Emerson’s foray into cucumber-brining, sitting in the shadows.

This site, now Nathan Tufts Park in Somerville, Massachusetts, was once home to Old Powder House Brand Pickles. The factory burned in October 1878, but the business didn’t officially go under until 1892. On October 5, 1878, the Somerville Journal published an account of the fire, noting that while the pickle factory burned to the ground, Emerson’s adjacent home was spared: “Fortunately, the wind was blowing away from the dwelling house and over the opening field; otherwise it is probable that the structure would have fallen prey to the devouring element. The inmates were considerably alarmed as it was, and experienced something of a ‘house-warming.’”

Today, all that remains of the factory is a lone stone marker. To see the commemorative pickle plaque, follow the steps from the stone house on College Avenue.

Know Before You Go

The plaque, and the Old Powder House, are a 10-minute walk from Davis Square.

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