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Get To Know The Town Of Newton

Newton was settled in 1630 as part of "the newe towne", which was renamed Cambridge in 1638. It was incorporated as a separate town, known as Cambridge Village, in 1688, then renamed Newtown in 1691, and finally Newton in 1766. It became a city in 1873. Newton is known as The Garden City.
In Reflections in Bullough's Pond, Newton historian Diana Muir describes the early industries that developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in a series of mills built to take advantage of the water power available at Newton Upper Falls and Newton Lower Falls. Snuff, chocolate, glue, paper and other products were produced in these small mills but, according to Muir, the water power available in Newton was not sufficient to turn Newton into a manufacturing city.

Newton, according to Muir, became one of America's earliest commuter suburbs. The Boston and Worcester, one of America's earliest railroads, reached West Newton in 1834. Gracious homes sprang up almost instantly on erstwhile farmland on West Newton hill, as men wealthy enough to afford a country seat, but whose business demanded that they be in their downtown Boston offices during the business day, took advantage of the new commuting opportunity offered by the railroad. Muir points out that these early commuters needed sufficient wealth to employ a groom and keep horses, to drive them from their hilltop homes to the station.

Further suburbanization came in waves. One wave began with the streetcar lines that made many parts of Newton accessible for commuters in the late nineteenth century, the next wave came in the 1920s when automobiles became affordable to a growing upper middle class. Even then, however, Oak Hill continued to be farmed, mostly market gardening, until the prosperity of the 1950s made all of the city more densely settled. Newton is not a typical "commuter suburb" since many people who live in Newton do not work in downtown Boston. Most Newtonites work in Newton and other surrounding cities and towns.

The city has two symphony orchestras, the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Massachusetts and the Newton Symphony Orchestra.
The Newton Free Library possesses more than 500,000 volumes of print materials (2004), as well as art, both original and prints, sound recordings and videos: the largest collection in the Minuteman Library Network.

The Newton Public Schools is considered one of the finest school systems in the Commonwealth.

Each April on Patriots Day, the Boston Marathon is run through the city, entering from Wellesley on Route 16 (Washington Street) where runners encounter the first of the four infamous Newton Hills. It then turns right onto Route 30 (Commonwealth Avenue) for the long haul into Boston. There are two more hills before reaching Centre Street, and then the fourth and most infamous of all, Heartbreak Hill, rises shortly after Centre Street. Residents and visitors line the race route along Washington Street and Commonwealth Avenue to cheer the runners.

Area Listings

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Updated: 12th December, 2018 3:57 PM.