Newton, Massachusetts

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City of Newton, Massachusetts
—  City  —
City Hall
Official seal of City of Newton, Massachusetts
Nickname(s): "The Garden City"
Newton ma highlight.png
Location in Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°20′13″N 71°12′35″W / 42.33694, -71.20972Coordinates: 42°20′13″N 71°12′35″W / 42.33694, -71.20972
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1630
Incorporated 1688
 • Type Strong Mayor-Board of Aldermen
 • Mayor Setti Warren
 • Total 18.2 sq mi (47.1 km2)
 • Land 18.1 sq mi (46.7 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 100 ft (30 m)
Population (2008)
 • Total 93,447
 • Density 4,600.6/sq mi (1,783.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02458, 02459, 02460, 02461, 02462, 02464, 02465, 02467, 02468, 02495
Area code(s) 617 / 857
FIPS code 25-45560
GNIS feature ID 0617675
Emily Levan Heartbreak Hill Boston Marathon 050418 dodged

Emily Lavan, Heartbreak Hill, 2005 Boston Marathon

Newton is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States bordered to the east by Boston. 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 separate and distinct village on some city maps, (including a map dated 2010 on the official City of Newton website)[1] 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 addresses and for first time visitors.[2]


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.[3] 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 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 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.


Newton is in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, at 42°20′16″N 71°12′36″W / 42.33778, -71.21 (42.337713, -71.209936).[4] The city is bordered by Waltham and Watertown on the north, Needham and the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston on the south, Wellesley and Weston on the west, and Brookline and the Brighton neighborhood of Boston on the east.

From Watertown to Waltham to Needham and Dedham, Newton is bounded by the Charles River. The Yankee Division Highway, designated Interstate 95 but known to the locals as Route 128, follows the Charles from Waltham to Dedham, creating a de facto land barrier. The portion of Needham which lies east of 128 and west of the Charles, known as the Needham Industrial Park has become part of a Newton commercial zone and contributes to its heavy traffic, though the tax revenue goes to Needham.

Union Street in Newton Centre

Union Street, Newton Centre

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.1 km2), of which 18.0 square miles (46.6 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) (0.82%) is water.


As of the census[5] 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. The Jewish population is estimated at roughly 28,000, or about one third the population.[6]

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. As of the 2008 US Census, the average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.11.

File:Newton centre 1.jpg

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 2008 estimate, the median income for a household was $108,228, and the median income for a family was $137,493.[7] Males had a median income of $65,565 versus $46,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $56,285. About 2.1% of families and 8.3% 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[8], 2004[9] and 2005[10], and the fourth safest city in the nation in 2006 [11] and in 2008.[12] The designation is based on crime statistics in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.



Newton has an elected strong mayor-council form of government. The council is called the Board of Aldermen. The mayor is Setti Warren, a former Naval officer and White House staffer who is the first African American to be elected Mayor of Newton.

The elected officials are:

  • Mayor: Setti Warren, the city's chief executive officer and appoints the Chief Administrative Officer.
  • The Board of Aldermen, Newton's legislative branch of municipal government, is made up of 24 members - sixteen at-large Aldermen and eight Ward Aldermen. Aldermen are elected every two years.

Note: The first listed person in each ward is the ward alderman, while the other two are elected at large.

    • Ward One: Scott F. Lennon, Carleton P. Merrill and Allan Ciccone Jr.;
    • Ward Two: Stephen M. Linsky, Marcia T. Johnson and Susan Albright;
    • Ward Three: Anthony Salvucci, Ted Hess-Mahan and Greer Tan Swiston;
    • Ward Four: Jay Harney, Leonard J. Gentile and Amy Mah Sangiolo;
    • Ward Five: John Rice, Deborah Crossley and Brian E. Yates;
    • Ward Six: Richard Blazar, Charlie Shapiro and Victoria L. Danberg;
    • Ward Seven: R. Lisle Baker, Ruthanne Fuller and Sydra Schnipper; and
    • Ward Eight: Cheryl Lappin, Mitchell L. Fischman and John Freedman.

Newton also has a school committee which decides on the policies and budget for Newton Public Schools. It has nine voting members, consisting of the Mayor of Newton and eight Ward representatives, who are elected by citizens.[13] In addition to these voting members, there are four nonvoting student representatives that are elected by the student body of both of Newton's high schools; two from Newton North, two from Newton South. In the past, the student representatives have displayed varying degrees of dedication to the School Committee. Newton School Committee Candidates for Fall 2009 Elections:


Mismanagement of Middlesex County's public hospital in the mid 1990s left the county on the brink of insolvency, and in 1997 the Massachusetts legislature stepped in by assuming all assets and obligations of the county. The government of Middlesex County was officially abolished on July 11, 1997. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council or commission. However, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services.

These are the remaining elected officers for Middlesex County:

  • Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
  • County Treasurer: Position Eliminated
  • District Attorney: Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
  • Register of Deeds: Richard P. Howe, Jr. (North at Lowell), Eugene C. Brune (South at Cambridge)
  • Register of Probate: Tara E. DeCristofaro
  • County Sheriff: James DiPaola


House of Representatives:

  • Kay Khan, Democrat of Newton: Eleventh Middlesex District, which covers Precincts 2 and 3 of ward 1, precincts 1, 2 and 3 of ward 2, precincts 1, 2 and 3 of ward 3, Ward 4, precinct 4 of ward 5, and precinct 2 of ward 7, of Newton
  • Ruth B. Balser, Democrat of Newton: Twelfth Middlesex District, which covers Precincts 1, 2 and 3 of ward 5, ward 6, precincts 1, 3 and 4 of ward 7, and ward 8, of Newton


  • Cynthia Stone Creem, Democrat of Newton: 1st Middlesex District and Norfolk, since 1998.



Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[14]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 25,873 46.74%
  Republican 4,642 8.39%
  Unaffiliated 24,574 44.40%
  Minor Parties 264 0.48%
Total 55,353 100%


File:Newton free lib.jpg


Primary and secondary educationEdit

Public: Newton Public Schools

Public Elementary Schools include:

  • Angier
  • Bowen
  • Burr
  • Cabot School
  • Countryside
  • Franklin
  • Horace Mann
  • Lincoln Eliot
  • Mason Rice
  • Memorial Spaulding
  • Peirce
  • Underwood
  • Ward
  • Williams
  • Zervas

Newton has four public middle schools:

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:

Higher educationEdit

Colleges and universities located in Newton include:

Former collegesEdit

Newton Junior CollegeEdit

Newton Junior College, operated by the Newton Public Schools, opened in 1946 to serve the needs of returning veterans who otherwise would not have been able to continue their education due to the overcrowding of colleges and universities at that time. It used the facilities of Newton High School (now Newton North High School) until its own adjacent campus was built. It closed in 1976 due to declining enrollment and increased costs.[15] The availability of such places as UMass Boston contributed to its demise. According to the city, its former campus is now "Claflin Park," a 25 unit multi-family development.


Other former colleges include Aquinas College (1961–1999), Mount Alvernia College (1959–1973) and Newton College of the Sacred Heart (1946–1975).[15]


Newton-Wellesley Hospital is located at 2014 Washington Street in Newton.

Houses of worshipEdit



The city's community newspaper is The Newton Tab, now published by the Community Newspaper Company.


Residents of Newton have free access to a state-of-the-art television production and media access center, NewTV, now located in new facilities in the University Business Center in Newton Highlands. Newton is also the headquarters for NECN, a regional news network.


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 across from Boston College on Commonwealth Avenue, virtually at the border of Boston's Brighton neighborhood and the City of Newton (an area which encompasses an unincorporated suburban village referred to as Chestnut Hill). 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.[16]

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.[17]

Points of interestEdit

Jackson homestead

The Jackson Homestead

  • 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.
File:Newton echo bridge 2.jpg
  • 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.
  • 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 venue 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

  • Chestnut 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. Although not generally used to supply water to Boston, the reservoir was temporarily brought back online on May 1, 2010, during a failure of a connecting pipe at the end of the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel.
  • Bullough's Pond is an old mill pond transformed into a landscape feature when Newton became a suburban community in the late nineteenth century. It has been the subject of two books, Reflections in Bullough's Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England, by Diana Muir, and Once Around Bullough's Pond: A Native American Epic, by Douglas Worth. It was long maintained by the city as an ice skating venue, but skating is no longer allowed. A scene from the 2008 remake of The Women was filmed there.

Notable architectureEdit

  • The Baptist Church in Newton Center was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in Richardson romanesque style.[18]
  • The WHDH-TV tower is one of the tallest free-standing lattice towers in USA.


There are several cemeteries in Newton, three of which are owned by the City of Newton, while the rest are privately owned,[19] as follows:

Notable grave sitesEdit


Every year on the 3rd Saturday of October there is a contest, in which students of any age can paint the walls of a local business. The drawing must be Halloween-related and be painted on canvas. Each student receives a large spot on the business's window. After this event there is an award ceremony with the mayor. Winners are chosen at the ceremony. Students are required to provide their own painting utensils and canvas.

Notable residentsEdit


  • The Fig Newton cookie is named after the city. In 1991, Newton and Nabisco hosted a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Fig Newton. A 100-inch Fig Newton was served and Juice Newton performed.[22]
  • The only Melkite Greek Catholic eparchy in America, the Eparchy of Newton, is named for Newton although its cathedral, headquarters and exarchial residence are located in the Roslindale section of Boston.
  • Philippine opposition leader and former Philippine senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. (Ninoy) spent more than three years in exile in Newton (1980–83), along with his family, after spending 7 years and 7 months in solitary confinement. He was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines on August 21, 1983. Two Philippine presidents, one currently in office, had thus lived in Newton from 1980-83: Corazon Aquino (1986–92) and her son, Benigno C. Aquino III (2010–present).

Newton in theatre and filmEdit

  • The plot of the 1928 Cole Porter musical Paris turns on a wealthy young man from Newton Center whose mother comes to Paris to rescue him from his intention to marry a French actress. Newton Center is chosen as the sort of place where Mayflower descendants live on family estates and do not marry French actresses.
  • In Sacha Baron Cohen's movie Borat, a scene in which Borat and Azamat panicked in a bed and breakfast owned by a Jewish couple actually took place in Newton, instead of in the southern states as depicted in the story.
  • In the television series ER, in the episode Parental Guidance (Season 15, episode 4), Dr Tracy Martin, played by Emily Rose, reveals that she is from Newton.[23]
  • In the television series House, in the episode Knight's Fall (Season 6, episode 17), a character mentions that she went to Newton North High School.[24]
  • Sheldon Cooper (character in the TV series The Big Bang Theory) plays a prank on Penny (not made clear to the viewer) by telling her that the measure of force Newton is named after this town. Penny falls for it. The unit of force is named after Sir Isaac Newton.

Newton in literatureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Newton's Geographic Information System: City of Newton, Massachusetts
  2. ^ The Thirteen Villages of Newton
  3. ^ Ritter, Priscilla R.; Thelma Fleishman (1982). Newton, Massachusetts 1679-1779: A Biographical Directory. New England Historic Genealogical Society. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Jewish Population in the United States 2002". Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. p. 14. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  7. ^ "Newton 2008 Income Estimates". Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  8. ^ 1999, City Crime Rankings By Population Group
  9. ^ 2004, City Crime Rankings By Population Group
  10. ^ 2005, City Crime Rankings By Population Group
  11. ^ 2006, City Crime Rankings by Population Group
  12. ^ City crime rate rankings, 2008
  13. ^ "NPS - School Committee." Newton Public Schools. 7 June 2009 <>.
  14. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  15. ^ a b "Massachusetts Closed Colleges". Closed College Consortium. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  16. ^ Newton Centre - A Case Study
  17. ^ AAA Map of Boston, Massachusetts, including Arlington, ...Newton, etc, 2007, Heathrow, Florida: AAA
  18. ^ American Architecture, H. H. Richardson, Newton Baptist Church
  19. ^ Cemeteries of Newton
  20. ^ The Political Graveyard: Middlesex County, Mass
  21. ^ Historic La Mott, PA - The Union Generals
  22. ^ Barbara L. Fredricksen (2003). For Juice, it's been a sweet ride, St. Petersburg Times, 3-21-2003.
  23. ^ Episode online at IMDB, at 25:40
  24. ^ Clip online at Hulu

Further readingEdit

  • Directory of the town of Newton: containing a general directory of the citizens, and a business directory. 1871 Google books

External linksEdit

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