By Anna Yukhananov
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
BELMONT, Mass. — The lecture hall was overflowing on Thursday, March 11: 115 chairs filled, with more people crowded near the door.
All had come to the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NASSR) to see a screening of Roger Hagopian’s documentary, “Destination Watertown: The Armenians of Hood Rubber.”
The film tells the story of the Hood Rubber Company, founded in 1896, and the Armenians who worked there. Hood Rubber’s Armenian employees formed the core of the Armenian community in Watertown.
More than 100 years later, a big condominium stands where the factory used to be. And most people had forgotten the story of Hood Rubber and its employees — until Hagopian interviewed survivors, collected documentary evidence and dug into industrial archaeology to present a vanished history.
Hagopian has his own theory about why people did not want to tell the story of Hood Rubber until now.