Destination Watertown ~ The Armenians of Hood Rubber
By Roger K Hagopian
In 1896 the Hood Rubber Company opened in Watertown, Massachusetts, attracting Armenian Immigrant laborers, refugees from the Abdul Hamid Massacres in the Ottoman Turkish Empire and the subsequent Genocide of 1915. This film tells the stories and reflections of former employees of Armenian descent, Watertown, residents, and descendants of the Hood family, interspersed with personal and historic photographs, archival films, maps, documents, artifacts and images of the remnants of the old factory, once the largest of its kind in the world, producing rubber footwear and tires, among other products.
Workers recount life on the conveyer belt, piecework, exposure to chemicals, and injuries in the workplace, yet considered themselves fortunate to have a job. For East Watertown residents, Hood Rubber was their neighborhood. They fondly remember the famous "sneaker test," whereby the durability of the product was demonstrated through the daily activities of local kids. Most importantly, this factory, which closed in 1969, was the impetus for the establishment of the Armenian community of Watertown.
Written, videotaped, and edited by Roger K. Hagopian, a recipient of the Watertown Historical Commission's Community Spirit Award for 2009.
Yeznig Films (2010)