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 This, the already outdated station, was converted to a village library on the ground floor with a janitor’s apartment and storage above.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.
Located on a dead end street in Waban, you’ll find this stunning Shingle style property, which rambles on forever! The house was built in the first decade of the 20th century and blends the Shingle style with the ever-popular Colonial Revival style. I could surprisingly not locate the architect for the house, but I’d guess that it was designed by the architectural firm of Longfellow, Alden, & Harlow, the last of which, Alfred Branch Harlow, shared a last name with the original owner of the home, Arthur Brooks Harlow. (And the same last name as Louis K. Harlow, an artist who lived one street away in a similar style home). I am not sure if these two were related, but thats my hunch. If anyone wants to do more digging on this and share the story with me, I’d be so grateful!
This Colonial Revival house on Pine Ridge Road in Waban Village, Newton, is one of a handful of the brick houses in the neighborhood, and one of the more refined examples of the style in the neighborhood without architectural embellishments from other styles. The home was built around 1915 for Winslow Blanchard and his wife Winona. Winslow was an engineer who served as President of the Blanchard Machine Company in Cambridge. It is probable that the couple hired Dorchester-based architect Edwin J. Lewis to design the home; as Winona grew up in the Ashmont section of town where Lewis lived. Additionally, the couple hired Lewis to make alterations to their recently completed home in 1919. The house retains its original slate roof, front door with pedimented entry, and is covered in climbing ivy, which isn’t great for the masonry but looks so good!