In 1767 a new meeting house was built near the old one on the triangle formed by Lyman Street and the two branches of Beaver Street. The first church bell in Waltham, according to tradition, was made by Paul Revere, and placed in the steeple of this building in 1815. It was also, in 1770, the site of the first recorded fire in the town when the steeple was struck by lightning. The fire was extinguished with a pail of milk by a farm hand who was milking nearby. When repairs were made, the first lightning rods in town were added, a fact which was noted in a letter of John Winthrop to Benjamin Franklin.

The little farm town was growing. In 1761 the first bridge in Waltham over the Charles River was built in cooperation with Newton at Newton Street. In 1733 the first school was built near what is now the junction of Bacon and Lexington Streets. By 1775 there were three schools in the town.


Waltham citizens took an active part in national events. Almost 300 men represented Waltham in the American Revolution. On April 19, 1775 a militia company met at the Meeting House where their arms were hidden. They then marched to Piety Corner where they were held until it was determined whether the British were returning from Concord by way of the Great Road or by way of Lexington.

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