Newton City Hall
The City of Newton in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, is a large residential suburb of Boston, which abuts it on the east. According to the 2000 census, the population of Newton was 83,829, making it the tenth largest city in the state.
Newton does not have a single city center, but is rather a patchwork of 13 "villages", many boasting small "downtown" areas of their own. The 13 villages are: Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls (both on the Charles River, and both once small industrial sites), Newtonville, Nonantum (also called "The Lake"), Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Waban, and West Newton. Oak Hill Park is a place within the village of Oak Hill that itself is shown as a village on some city maps, and Four Corners is also shown as a village on some city maps. Although most of the villages have a post office, they have no legal definition and no firmly defined borders. This village-based system often causes some confusion with regard to addresses and first time visitors. See The Thirteen Villages of Newton.
Newton was settled in 1630 as part of Newetowne, which was renamed Cambridge in 1638. It was incorporated as a separate town, known as Cambridge Village, in 1688. It was 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 1700s and early 1800s 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, did become 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 communters needed sufficient wealth to employ a groom and keep horses, to drive them from their hilltop homes to the station.
Emily Lavan, Heartbreak Hill, 2005
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 Newton 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 he Commonwealth.(citation needed)
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.
Union Street, Newton Centre
As of the census of 2000, there were 83,829 people, 31,201 households, and 20,499 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,643.6 people per square mile (1,793.2/km²). There were 32,112 housing units at an average density of 1,778.8/sq mi (686.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.07% White, 7.68% Asian, 1.97% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.52% of the population. Newton, along with neighboring Brookline, is known for its considerable Jewish and Asian populations.
There were 31,201 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size as 2.51 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $104,014, and the median income for a family was $133,686. Males had a median income of $65,565 versus $46,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $45,708. About 2.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Newton was the nation's safest city during 1999, 2004 and 2005, and the fourth safest city in the nation in 2006. The designation is based on crime statistics in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.
The Newton Free Library
- Beth-El Pre-School, 561 Ward St.
- Burr Cooperative Nursery School, 64 Hancock St., Auburndale
- The Teddy Bear Club Preschool, 1466 Commonwealth Ave, West Newton.
- JCC Early Learning Centers, 333 Nahanton St. & 125 Wells Ave.
- The Children's Cooperative Nursery School, 848 Beacon St.
- Temple Shalom Nursery School, 175 Temple St.
- Walnut PK Montessori School, 47 Walnut Park
- Auburndale Community Nursery School, 230 Central St.
- Rockwell Nursery School at Lasell College, 70 Studio Road
- Newton Community Service Center, 492 Waltham Street
- Preschool Experience, Centre Street
- Upper Falls Nursery School, 45 Pettee St, Newton Upper Falls
- Bilingual Beginnings at Pine Village Preschool www.pinevillagepreschool.com 1326 Washington Street, West Newton
- West Newton Children's Center (wnchildrenscenter.com) Washington ST, West Newton
Primary and secondary education
Public: Newton Public Schools
Public elementary schools include:
- Cabot School
- Horace Mann
- Lincoln Eliot
- Mason Rice
- Memorial Spaulding
Newton has four public middle schools:
- Oak Hill
Brown Middle School and Oak Hill Middle School graduates go on to Newton South while Frank A. Day Middle School and Bigelow Middle School graduates go on to Newton North. There are exceptions based on exact location of the student's home.
Newton has two public high schools:
Both high schools are known for their strong academics. Newton North is also known for its athletics.
Colleges and universities located in Newton include:
- Andover Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Rd, Newton Centre
- Boston College 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill (The Upper, Middle, and Newton campuses are in Newton, while the Lower campus is in Boston).
- Boston College Law School, Centre Street, Newton Corner.
- Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Rd, Newton Centre
- Mount Ida College, 777 Dedham St, Newton Centre
- Lasell College, 1844 Commonwealth Avenue, Auburndale
Newton's proximity to Boston, along with its good public schools and safe and quiet neighborhoods, make it a very desirable community for those who commute to Boston or work in Newton's businesses and industries.
Newton is well-served by three modes of mass transit run by the MBTA; light rail, commuter rail, and bus service. The Green Line "D" Branch, (also known as the Riverside branch) is a light rail line running through the center of the city that makes very frequent trips to downtown Boston, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes away. The Green Line "B" Branch ends close to Boston College on Commonwealth Avenue. The commuter rail, serving the northern villages of Newton that are proximate to Waltham, offers less frequent service to Boston. It runs from every half-an-hour during peak times to every couple of hours otherwise. The northern villages are also served by frequent express buses that head to downtown Boston via the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Newton Centre, which is centered around the Newton Center MBTA station, has been lauded as an example of transit-oriented development.
The Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90), which basically follows the old Boston and Albany Railroad main line right-of-way, runs east and west through Newton, while Route 128 (Interstate 95) slices through the extreme western part of the city in the Lower Falls area. Route 30 (Commonwealth Avenue), route 16 (Watertown Street west to West Newton, where it follows Washington Street west) and route 9 Worcester Turnpike or Boylston Street) also run east and west through the city. Another major Boston (and Brookline) street, Beacon Street, runs west from the Boston city line to Washington Street west of the hospital, where it terminates at Washington Street.
There are no major north-south roads through Newton: every north-south street in Newton terminates within Newton at one end or the other. The only possible exception is Needham Street, which is north-south at the border between Newton and Needham, but it turns east and becomes Dedham Street, and when it reaches the Boston border, it goes south-east.
There are some north-south streets that are important to intra-Newton traveling. Centre Street runs south from the Watertown town line to Newton Highlands, where it becomes Winchester Street and terminates at Nahanton Street. Walnut Street runs south from Newtonville, where it starts at Crafts Street, down to Newton Highlands, where it ends at Dedham Street.
Points of interest
City of Newton official website
Newton Citizens (general info)
Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce
Newton Tab (Newspaper)
Your Town - Newton - on Boston.com
Newton Symphony Orchestra (established 1965)
Crystal Lake is a 33 acre natural lake located in Newton Centre. Its shores, mostly lined with private homes, also host two small parks and a town beach and bath house. The name Crystal Lake was given to the pond by a nineteenth century commercial ice harvester that sold ice cut from the pond in winter. It had previously been called Baptist Pond.
The Jackson Homestead
The Jackson Homestead, now the Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead, is best known for its history as a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was built in 1809 as a farmhouse designed in the Federal style, and is now a museum with paintings, costumes, photographs, manuscripts, maps and historical artifacts.
Heartbreak Hill, notably challenging stretch of the Boston Marathon, on Commonwealth Avenue between Centre Street and Boston College.
Newton is home to many exclusive golf courses such as Woodland Country Club, Charles River Country Club, and Brae Burn Country Club, which held the United States Open in 1919.
Echo Bridge, Newton Upper Falls
Echo Bridge is a notable 19th-century masonry arch bridge with views of the river and Hemlock Gorge in Newton Upper Falls just off Route 9.
Norumbega Park was located in Auburndale on the Charles River. Opening in 1897 as a trolley park, it was a popular amusement park through the 1950s before closing in 1963. Its Totem Pole Ballroom became a well-known dancing and entertainment enue for big bands touring during the 1940s. The park is now a popular dog-walking site with hills, meadows, woods, and access to the river.
Chestnut Hill Reservoir
Chustnut Hill Reservoir is a very popular park with residents of Newton, Brookline, and the Brighton section of Boston. Although completely within the Boston city limits, it is directly contiguous to the Newton city limits. Designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, the designer of Central Park in New York City and the Emerald Necklace in Boston, the park offers beautiful views of the Boston skyline, and is framed by stately homes and the campus of Boston College. The reservoir is no longer used to supply water to Boston.