In its 400 years of recorded history, the Charles River has run from Hopkinton to Boston just as marathoners do every April. In that time it has served as the route of settlement for places like Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, and Waltham. This book shows the Charles' historic role as a major source of waterpower, transportation, and recreation for the 23 towns and cities along its route. The story of the Charles includes many notable American figures including John Smith, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the inventors of the Stanley Steamer automobile. There are even accounts of the river's more recent transition from a poster child for the conflict between man and nature to one of the world's environmental preservation successes. Illustrated with historic maps and more than 100 color photos, this history of one of Greater Boston's greatest living landmarks is ideal for residents and visitors alike.