The Newton Lower Falls Firehouse was built in 1900 to serve the village’s fire prevention needs. As nearby Waban Village’s population surged (along with a stronger tax base) the City of Newton constructed a new fire station in 1918, that could serve both areas. This, the already outdated station, was converted to a village library on the ground floor with a janitor’s apartment and storage above. The space was determined to be surplus by the City and was sold off in 1979, quickly converted to housing by a developer. The building retains much of its original character, down to the hose-drying tower.
My favorite of all workers cottages/houses in Newton’s Lower Falls village is this home, a c.1840 dwelling which is a vernacular Greek Revival style home with excellent proportions and design. Toward the middle of the 19th-century, the Newton Lower Falls Village developed into a premier paper-manufacturing center of eastern Massachusetts, largely due to the water power supplied by the Charles River. One of the most successful paper mills in the area was owned by Lemuel Crehore (1791-1868), who with his success, built workers cottages for his employees and their families! This home was occupied by Nathaniel Wales and his wife Abigail (Jackson). Nathaniel was from Watertown and came to Newton to work in the paper industry. He left and went to Canada in 1802 to create a paper mill there, soon after returning to marry Abigail. The home features a full-length front porch with tapered columns, pilasters at the entry, and Victorian-era windows in a 2-over-2 configuration.
Toward the middle of the 19th-century, the Newton Lower Falls Village developed into a premier paper-manufacturing center of eastern Massachusetts, largely due to the forests and water power supplied by the Charles River. One of the most successful paper mills in the area was owned by Lemuel Crehore (1791-1868), who with his success, built workers cottages for his employees and their families (imagine if businesses did that today)! This Greek Revival workers cottage was occupied by employees of the mill before it was sold when the mill closed, to a house painter. The modest house stands out for the gorgeous wrap-around porch supported by fluted Doric columns, an off-center entrance with sidelights, and corner pilasters.
Toward the middle of the 19th-century, the Newton Lower Falls Village developed into a premier paper-manufacturing center of eastern Massachusetts, largely due water power supplied by the Charles River. One of the most successful paper mills in the area was owned by Lemuel Crehore (1791-1868), who with his success, built workers cottages for his employees and their families (imagine if businesses did that today)! This Greek Revival workers cottage was occupied by employees of the mill, and was sold off after the mill shut down. The house features a deep piazza with three Tuscan columns across the front and scroll-sawn bargeboards at the porch and hanging along the roof, giving it a slight Gothic Revival element.
In 1841, Dr. Edward Warren (1805-1878) purchased land, a dwelling house, and outbuildings in the Lower Mills village of Newton for his own property. Edward was the son of Dr. John Warren, a Continental Army surgeon during the American Revolutionary War, founder of the Harvard Medical School, and the younger brother of Dr. Joseph Warren, also a physician and Patriot during the early days of the American Revolution, eventually serving as President of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress and dying at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Edward, a much less renowned figure practiced medicine in Boston and Newton and married Caroline Rebecca Ware, the half-sister of Henry Ware, a prominent Harvard professor. The house was likely modernized during Warren’s ownership and is largely Greek Revival in style, but much more modest than one would think given the family connections of the two owners!
Augustus Curtis Wiswall was born in Exeter, NH in 1823. At seventeen, he moved to Boston and sought to live life on the open seas. He saw a ship docked called the “Republic” which was about to set sail to Calcutta. He took several other jobs as he hoped for more adventure as a young man. His final voyage was with a general cargo ship to Brazil. On route, several lawless members of the crew rose up in open mutiny, murdering the captain and first-mate, seizing control of the vessel. Loyal to the captain, Augustus was stabbed but was allowed to live as he was the only man capable of navigating back to land. The small crew scuttled the larger ship and manned the small boat surviving on minimal food. They made it to Rio De Janeiro and managed to board a vessel back to Boston. Wiswall never shared his story but to his wife, who in turn shared his stories after his death. His life back home was more calm, after living in the south and midwest during the Civil War, he moved back to Massachusetts and he bought land in Newton’s Lower Falls village building this home. He operated a paper mill in the village and was active in the local church until his death in 1880.
Thought to be the oldest extant house in Newton Lower Falls, this historic mansion has seen a lot of change over its nearly 300 years in the village. The house believed to have been built around 1755 by John Parker (1687-1761) for his son Ezra (b. 1731) after his marriage. William Hoogs, a ship carpenter from Boston, took ownership of the house in 1781 from his father-in-law (and boss), Aster Stoddard, who had bought it from the Parker family. William Hoogs was a sole-owner of a paper mill in the village and made a good name for himself. The house was likely modified during this period in the Federal style, with a third floor added. The home was possibly passed to his son, also William, who was written about in papers as fleeing town to Canada with the family maid, who was late in her pregnancy and their two-year-old child together. Hoogs had debtors looking for him. Hoogs had a change of heart and sent for his eight children to live with him in Quebec that same year. Sadly, the ship bringing them up sunk on Lake Champlain and all perished. By 1813, the property was purchased by Samuel Brown of Boston, a wealthy merchant who was a strong financial supporter of Saint Mary’s Church. By 1825, he officially bequeathed the property to Dr. Alfred Louis Baury (1764-1865) rector of Saint Mary’s Church. By 1917, the Lucy Jackson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution operated it as a chapter house and a museum for antiques. In 1971, the Newton Redevelopment Authority bought the property and sold it to a developer for conversion into office space, it was rotated 90 degrees to face Concord Street at this time.
Lower Falls Village in Newton, Massachusetts was first settled in the early 18th century by colonists due to the area’s natural waterfalls and rapids which was perfect for early industry. By the early 19th century, up to four paper mills lined the Charles River here at a dam which provided power and steady water supply for their facilities. The village saw a large population increase from that point until the end of the 19th century when larger mills in the state were built. One of the major community spaces for the growing village was it’s main church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which is the oldest extant church in Newton and the first Episcopal church built immediately west of Boston. The cornerstone for the building was laid in September 1813 containing a package of coins and a silver plate. Previously services had been held in the Lower Falls schoolhouse, with the first Episcopal service held in 1811. The land for the church was donated by Samuel Brown a wealthy Boston merchant who invested in the paper mills in Lower Falls. Many of the founding members and parishioners were in the paper making business in Lower Falls and buried in the adjacent cemetery. The Federal style church was altered in 1838 and given Gothic detailing, including lancet windows and finials at the steeple. In 1954, the bell tower was altered with the gothic finials replaced with the current urns on the balustrade, the gothic arched openings were changed to the current arched shape, and entablature, pilasters, and a cross were added.
This charming little firehouse in the Lower Falls Village in Newton, MA was built in 1900 to serve the growing industrial village along the Charles River. The station was active until 1918 when a newer station was built between Lower Falls and Waban on Beacon Street to service both developing villages. By 1923, the structure was remodeled by the city and opened as a public library. The ground floor was utilized as the library, with a room in the rear was used for voting. The second floor was converted to the janitor’s apartment who maintained the space. The library moved as the cramped space was not suitable for a growing city, and the property was sold by the city to a developer in 1979 and was converted to a multi-family dwelling.
Could you live in a converted firehouse?
The only two-story temple-front Greek Revival home in the Upper Falls Village of Newton, MA stands on Elliot Street, on the same block as the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Catholic Church and Rectory. The home was built in 1838 at the present location of the church, but was moved in 1908 to its present location at the opposite end of the block for the erection of the large church. The original owner was Dr. Samuel Whitney, the village doctor who also operated his office out of the large house. By 1844, he moved to Dedham and sold the home and practice to Dr. Abraham D. Dearborn who ran his practice out of the home until the mid 1850s. After successive ownership by mill owners, the property was acquired by the Archdiocese of Boston who moved the home and used it as a rectory until the Colonial Revival rectory was built. The home has since been used as a parish center, but has not been well maintained over the years. Plans were unveiled in 2015 by a long-time resident to purchase the home from the Catholic Church for conversion of a community center with offices for non-profits, but it has not materialized sadly. Its future is unclear.