Indigenous History of Westwood, Massachusetts
Oven's Mouth (Devil's Oven)
Formerly a much larger cave that was blown up by the creation of Route 109, Oven's Mouth has had a fair share of speculated uses. The plaque, located a few feet to the right of the cave itself, reads,
A Native American Landmark
Also known as Devil's Oven
Mouth of a Tunnel
Leading to an Indian cave
Active during the Colonial period of the Massachusetts Bay Colony."
The cave is by far the most recognized, and easily accessible, Native site in Westwood. The primary reason for this is the fact that it was suspected to have been a hiding place for Metacomet (also known by the anglicized version of his name, King Philip) during King Philip's War. However, there is no real evidence for this actually occurring, and Oven's Mouth is only one of many sites in New England that have been mythologized as hiding places for Metacomet. Some historians believe that the cave may have been a place where Native people cooked corn, but evidence to back up these claims is quite hard to find.
Although Oven's Mouth is still an important site, I have chosen to center my focus around other, more lesser known sites that offer substantial evidence of permanent Native settlement. As a town community, I believe most Westwood residents know little about the Native history of the land they inhabit, and if they do know anything, they are familiar with Oven's Mouth as the singular place where Native people worked and lived. Knowing the history of Oven's Mouth is a good start, but we must understand that all of the land in the town of Westwood was once settled by Native people. There are not always plaques and even school curricula that acknowledge this, but it is a fact that we as Westwood residents need to understand and grapple with every day.
Staff, Hometown Weekly. “Oven Mouth Part of Westwood's Legacy.” Hometown Weekly, 2 Aug. 2017, https://hometownweekly.net/westwood/oven-mouth-part-westwoods-legacy/.
Buonopane, Ralph. "There's A New Sign in Town..." Westwood, A Community Newsletter. Town Hall, Westwood Massachusetts. https://www.townhall.westwood.ma.us/Home/ShowDocument?id=9988