Newton Massachusetts, 1890
NEWTON is a large and handsome city of residences, having also its manufacturing localities, and is rapidly increasing in population and wealth. It lies in the southeastern extremity of Middlesex County, and adjoins the Brighton district of Boston on the east and the West Roxbury district on the southeast, with an angle of Brookline thrust deeply between them. Needham and Wellesley bound the southwest side; Weston the west; and Waltham and Watertown the north. The Charles River divides it entirely from Needham, Wellesley and; Weston, and partially from Waltham and Watertown.
In the midst of the river is a large bowlder called the "County Rock," marking the abutting corners of Norfolk and Middlesex counties and of the towns of Newton, Wellesley and Weston. Baptist Pond, covering some 33 acres, lying just south of Newton Centre, sends a stream southward to the Charles. Hammond's Pond lies near Brookline, and has an outlet to the Ballou Ponds, just north o:f.Newton Centre, which send a considerable brook northward past Newton Corner, to the Charles in Watertown. The surface is charmingly diversified by the varying altitudes. The southern and western sections are quite hilly, but the highest elevation is Waban Hill, in the east, near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir of the Boston Waterworks, which has an altitude of 306 feet. Institution Hill is 295 feet; Oak Hill, 292; Chestnut Hill, 295; Sylvan Heights, 252; and Nonantum Hill, 249. Hill, valley and meadow are all under a high state of cultivation; and handsome trees, from the graceful sapling to elms and oaks of a hundred years' growth or more, adorn the landscape on every side. Fruit trees are also numerous. Gardens of flowers, plants and vegetables abound. The greenhouse product is large.
The value of the aggregate product of the 95 farms in 1885 was $189,886. The woollen mills employed 343 persons, and made goods to the value of $600,406. The hosiery mill employed 46 women; the watch factory, 40 persons; and the cordage factory, 67. The machinists, ironworkers and blacksmiths numbered 192. There were 74 house-building establishments; 6 making leather goods; 5, furniture; and 30, clothing. The boxes and other paper goods amounted to $74,658. Other manufactures were boots and shoes, boats, carriages, harnesses, electrical apparatus, chemical articles and food preparations. The value of the aggregate of manufactures, according to the State census of the year mentioned, was $2,389,018. The aggregate capital of the two national banks was $300,000; and the savings banks, at the close of last year, held deposits to the amount of $l,563,750. The population was 19,759, including 3,976 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $33,278,642, with a tax-rate of; $15.20 on $1,000. There were 4,018 dwelling-houses. The assessed area of the town is 9,857 acres.
The post-offices are Newton, Newtonville, Auburndale, West Newton, Newton Centre, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls, Chestnut Hill and Newton Highlands. The other villages are Angier's Corner, Cork City, Fair View, Johnsonville, Oak Hill, Riverside and Thompsonville.
The Boston and. Albany Railroad crosses the northern part of the town, having stations at Newton (Corner), Newtonville, West Newton, Auburndale and Riverside, with a branch to Newton Lower Falls. The Woonsocket Division of the New York and New England Railroad crosses the southern section, and has stations at Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Highlands and Newton Upper Falls. Street railroads afford convenient communication between most of the villages. The excellent city-hall is in West Newton, which is therefore the capital village.
[City Hall, Newton.]
There are few dwellings in the town that are not of average quality and size. Most of the eminences are crowned with handsome mansions; and many on slopes and swells, set amid lawns, flowers and shrubbery, are charmingly beautiful. There are several almost palatial residences; of which are two or three along the Charles near Auburndale, the Claflin Place at Newtonville, and those of Messrs. Spear, Nickerson, Farloe, the Edmundses and others at the Centre and Highlands. Nearly the whole town is as delightful as a park, yet:there is a fine one at Newton Corner, and others are in progress. Through such a region the roads are always good, and the drives cannot be otherwise than charming. There.is variety in the eminences. The buildings of the Newton Theological Seminary, a Baptist institution, give Institution Hill, at Newton Centre, a character of its own. At Newton Upper Falls, the Charles plunges over a rocky bed in a descent of more than 20 feet; at Riverside are the boat-houses; and a little further down the river, on the Waltham side, may be seen Professor Horsford's "Norumbega Tower') marking the supposed site of that ancient and somewhat mythical aboriginal town. Above and below are stately hemlocks and pines with their sombre shade, and bright-leaved maples, and everywhere the graceful elms. The noble arch of Echo Bridge, carrying across the Charles the great conduit of the Boston Water-works, and the broad, irregular, lake-like expanse of river along the borders of Newton and Waltham — these are a few of the interesting sights for an afternoon's drive.
[Soldiers' Monument. erected July 23,1864.]
[Lasell Seminary, Auburndale, Newton.]
Lasell Seminary, an institution for young ladies at Auburndale, has an attraction of different nature. The Home School, at the same place, and the West Newton English and Classical School, are institutions worthy of their location. There are several other private schools and kindergartens. In Newtonville there is a superior public high school; and grammar and primary schools are located at convenient points in the town. The number of public school buildings is 21; and their value is set at $412,325 — including appurtenances. There is an elegant public library building of granite, erected in 1869, at a cost (including contents) of $55,000. It contains a reading-room, and a library numbering, in 1885, 22,484 volumes. The Newton Atheneum had, at the same date, 4,848 volumes; while the libraries of the Theological Institution and the Lasell Seminary aggregated 19,135 volumes. The two papers, the " Journal" and the " Graphic," have ample subscription lists, while a monthly, the "High School Review," is also well sustained. Newton abounds in churches, there being not less than 28; the Baptists have 5; the Congregationalists 7; the Methodists 5; the Protestant Episcopalians 3; the Roman Catholics 3; the. Unitarians 3; the Universalists 1; and the New Jerusalem Church (Swedenborgian) also 1. The new Eliot Church (Trinitarian Congregational) at Newton, is one of the most beautiful and costly church edifices in the State. The walls are of pink.granite with brownstone trimmings. The general style is Romanesque certain enrichments of a Byzantine character. It has a convenient carriage porch and two towers — one at each extremity — the larger (l27 feet in height) containing a clock and a fine bell. There are ten memorial windows. The seating capacity is upwards of 1,100. The cost was $175,000. The First Congregational church Newton Centre) was organized in 1664. The Newton Cottage Hospital, at Auburndale, founded in 1880 is an institution which is very creditable to the few benevolent people by whom it was established. Of the five cemeteries in the city, Newton Cemetery, containing 83 acres, finely laid out and ornamented, is regarded as the finest. The town is noted for the longevity of its inhabitants.
The Indian name of this place was Nonantum, which the beautiful hill on the line of Brighton, and the village near by, still perpetuate. The term signifies "place of rejoicing". Here lived the chief Waban, and here the Indians first listened to the teachings of the gospel; and in memory of the event the town seal of Newton bears a representation of the Rev. John Eliot preaching to his dusky converts. A school was established among them; and they erected a house of worship for themselves. The number largely increased, and they finally removed to Natick, where they could have larger territory. The town was, in its earlier settlement, a part of Cambridge, or New Town, as it was then called, and bore the name of Cambridge Village. It was incorporated as a town December 15, 1691, choosing the original name; which in the progress of time, changed to its present form. It was chartered as a city June 2, 1873. Newton has produced many distinguished men — Edmund Trowbridge (1709-1793), an eminent jurist; Col. Ephraim Williams (1715-1755), the founder of Williams Collage; Roger Sherman, (1721-1793), a signer of the Declaration of Independence; William Jenks, D.D., LL.D. (1778-1866), author of a Commentary on the Bible; William Jackson (1783-1855), a member of Congress; and Alexander H. Rice (1818), an eminent merchant, a member of Congress, and a governor of the Commonwealth. Rev. S. F. Smith, author of our national hymn. " My country, 'tis of thee," is a resident of Newton.
pp. 499-504 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890