Newton’s Village Descriptions

Newton is divided into thirteen distinct villages. In the past, village centers were centralized areas for residents to trade goods when coming from the nearby farmlands which dominated the countryside. In the 21st century, as Newton has been developed for over a century, each village can be considered the equivalent of a city district, a historically important area that can be geographically divided by roads and different zoning codes. Most villages have a center, a place where stores and sometimes public transportation are located.

Auburndale – …lays on the northwest corner of Newton. The area has a beautiful village center with many local stores, including The Knotty Pine, a diner with a dedicated following. ‘The Dale’ also has easy access to the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate I-95/128. Of course, as with many of the northern communities in Newton, the Mass. Pike splits Auburndale in two. The North side has the village center while the south side has the Auburndale Historic District. Additionally, Auburndale students sometimes are placed in the Newton South High School (and the city’s southern middle schools) district, making for a long car ride for commuting students. Lasell College is also located in this village. Still, Auburndale is one of Newtons most lively and respected villages, just ask anyone who walks their dog at The Cove, one of Newton’s most beautiful parks on the mighty Charles River.

Chestnut Hill – …is one of Newton’s most iconic villages. Chestnut Hill actually is a neighborhood that is in both Boston, Brookline and Newton. It is home to many celebrities, CEOs, doctors and highly respected professionals. Homes in this area tend to be very expensive and are placed on larger lots. Perhaps the most well known landmark in this village is Boston College’s (main campus), an ACC powerhouse that employs many of Newton’s residents. The Chestnut Hill Reservoir, mostly located in Boston but partially surrounded by Newton land, is also loved by walkers and professionals alike, who look to get in an early morning jog before or after work. Newton Commonwealth Golf Course, a public use course, is located in this village and is popular with many residents of Metro Boston; as are The Shops of Chestnut Hill, one of Newton’s heavily utilized malls. Although the MBTA Green line does extend into the edge of Chestnut Hill, many of the area’s residents commute by car via the scenic Commonwealth Avenue or more straightforward Route 9, two major roads leading in and out of Boston. Chestnut Hill is probably Newton’s most well-known village.

Newton Centre – …is arguably Newton’s most utilized village. Newton Centre has a lively “center” that is home to numerous shops, restaurants and even our very own Coldwell Banker. The MBTA Green line also offers a stop centrally located in the village center. The northern part of Newton Centre is also home to Boston College Law School and a few of the freshmen dorms. However, the most iconic feature of Newton Centre is Crystal Lake (formerly known as Wiswall’s Pond or Baptist Pond in olden times), which attracts a large number of swimmers in the summertime. However, this does not go without conflict, as many people tend to swim in areas of the lake that do not have lifeguard protection, often to the concern of neighbors and the local police department. In recent years, significant debates have occurred over improving the safety of Crystal Lake while letting beachgoers enjoy the area’s amenities.

Newton Corner – …is a commuter’s dream, with the Massachusetts Pike being right in the center of the village. However, the on and off entrances to the Pike take up a giant rotary around the Crowne Plaza Hotel and office buildings, and create a traffic disaster often referred to as, “Niagara Falls,” or the “Circle of Death,” by motorists. Simply put, a suboptimal traffic design coupled with frequent use by nearby motorists, has led to the area becoming gridlocked during rush hour traffic. Nonetheless, the village has easy access to Boston, as well as Brighton’s Oak Square, almost a village in itself. As noted, Newton Corner is split by the Mass Pike, like Auburndale, West Newton and Newtonville; but it is home to many great facilities, such as Farlow Park, Newton’s equivalent to the Boston Public Garden.

Newton Highlands – …Southwest of Newton Centre is Newton Highlands. With a MBTA Green line stop, ‘the Highlands,’ is one of Newton’s most interesting villages. Shops on both sides of Lincoln street make the village attractive to shoppers, but the village’s buildings modest appearances means that traffic is usually minimal. Route 9 serves as a good commuting option for those going into Boston. Cold Spring Park, a large park with walking trails and sports fields, lays at the northern end of this village and is perhaps it’s best feature. Miles of walking trails often attract wildlife rarely seen in such a developed area. Newton Highlands also is home to a Whole Foods, at the 4 corners crossing, also known as the intersection of Beacon and Walnut street. Many of the homes in Newton Highlands are only a short walk from Crystal Lake, highlighted above (see Newton Centre).

Newton Lower Falls – …Newton Lower Falls is Newton’s only village that is located outside of Interstate I-95/128. Although appearing cutoff, Lower Falls actually has a vibrant community life with many events occurring at the Lower Falls Community Center. Due to the surrounding public golf course, many residents enjoy the quiet and almost country like atmosphere of the neighborhood. Woodland Golf Club is also nearby, and is popular with Newton residents. Additionally, Lower Falls close vicinity to Wellesley and Interstate I-95/128 makes for a commuter’s dream, as well as nearby restaurants for a fun night out.

A Historic Map of Newton. Full size version.

Newton Upper Falls – …Just south of Route 9, Upper Falls has a distinct feel. Most of it’s buildings feel older and more rustic, but many of the businesses themselves are sleek and modern. The older home feel is evidenced by many residents having been marked as living in Lower Falls on multiple historic maps. Perhaps Newton’s most iconic landmarks, Echo Bridge and Hemlock Gorge Reservation, are in this village. Together these two areas are visited by people from all over the area. Upper Falls is a classic village in a charming city, something rare in the 21st century, where much original character has not withstood the test of time.

Newtonville – …is home to the new Newton North High School, a nearly 200 million dollar complex built to educate half of the city’s high school age population. A new Cabot School, the village’s elementary school, has also been constructed. The village is  geographically cut in two by the Mass. Pike, with some of the villages homes north of it and others south. A number of hotly contested new building projects are currently taking place in the village center, which has caused a strong rift between many residents in the area. Essentially, the village is presently in the process of being revitalized. Newtonville also has numerous shops including two supermarkets, a Whole Foods and a Star Market.

Nonantum – …Perhaps Newton’s most “fun” village, Nonantum is located at the northern part of the city, but is often at the center of attention. Nonantum has a number of yearly events, including a yearly parade and festival. An annual Christmas lights celebration also occurs here. Nonantum homes are usually smaller and are on narrower lots than the other villages of Newton, resulting in slightly more modest housing prices. Nonantum also was the former home of Silver Lake, which the village is sometimes referred to as, which was filled in more than a century ago. However, Nonantum has a number of perks that other villages can only dream of. It’s location makes commuting via Storrow Drive and the Mass. Pike doable, and being so close to Waltham and Watertown often makes trying new restaurants and visiting different stores a breeze.

Oak Hill – …is Newton’s southernmost village. Public transportation is limited in Oak Hill, but is countered by beautiful scenery and quiet surroundings. Oak Hill Park lies at the southernmost tip of the Oak Hill village, and contains many ranch style homes, some of which were put up for returning GIs after World War II. The village is home to a number of both public and private schools, as well as universities. However, at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, Mt Ida College decided to shutter its doors for good. Additionally, the Wells Ave office area is the home to many workers, often commuting from all around Metro Boston. It is a very desirable village.

Thompsonville – …is split by Route 9 in the center, but you would hardly notice you were in this village in the first place as it has no village center, nor any iconic parts. Some assume that before Route 9 was commonplace, Thompsonville had numerous shops on the street that Route 9 would one day become, and therefor little evidence of the village’s past remains. Although, this is only speculation and further research is needed. However, Bowen elementary school is located centrally in this village and most of the village’s elementary school students attend it. Dudley Road, one of Newton’s most scenic roads, also is partly located in Thompsonville. Thompsonville is also located near the shops on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill, making it a prime location for shopping. Although all of Newton’s village geographic dividing lines are obscure and unpublished, Thompsonville is perhaps the most unclear. Simply put, Thompsonville is Newton’s most mysterious, yet perhaps interesting, village. Little is known about it’s past.

Waban – …is often described as Newton’s most prestigious village and there are a number of benefits of living there. A MBTA Green line stop located near the end of the line means that getting a seat when heading into Boston is usually doable. Brae Burn Country Club is nearby, as other numerous shops and the new Angier School. Waban is home to many expensive homes, some of which command multi-million dollar listing prices.

West Newton – Like Newtonville, Auburndale and Newton Corner, West Newton is split by the Mass Pike. The southern part of this village is generally referred to as West Newton Hill and is home to large lots and big houses, just like Chestnut Hill. The northern part of the village consists of a city center, which has numerous shops, including a movie theatre, as well as a MBTA Commuter rail stop. West Newton is also home to the Dolan Pond Conservation Area and a number of smaller parks. West Newton also touches part of Waltham, which with Moody and High Street contain many fine eateries.

Please also note information in the above text may be inaccurate and all users should validate any and all statements with their own sources.

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