Newton Center is located in the central point of this area. Chestnut Hill is just a few miles to the east, and the I-95 freeway, which runs north to south, is located to the west. The Newton-Wellesley Hospital is easily accessible to all residents, and it is located next to this freeway. The nearby Massachusetts Turnpike and the Boston and Albany railroad were critical to the development of this area. Some of the most notable names during this period belong to the Hyde and the Wiswall families. They are believed to be the patrons of the original lands underneath the Newton Center Common.
The Origins of Newton Center
Various cultural and civic institutions arrived shortly after the original developers created these housing districts. Other important sites and historical institutions provide a nexus for various civic activities. For example, the Newton Corner Vernacular site is a typical example of the Colonial Revival type of architecture. The mixture of different influences in architecture is exemplified in the Holman House, which displays elements of both the Greek Revival and the Italianate styles.
Newton Center is a historical area that dates back to the middle of the 1600s. During this period, the area was an adjunct settlement of Cambridge. The area known today as Newton Center started to develop rapidly in the 1850s with the Charles River Railroad. This accommodation allowed passengers to travel freely between Boston and Newton Center. The major freeway in the area is the preferred method of travel when commuting to the nearest cities, which are Albany and Boston. This is a perfect situation for enjoying the benefits and excitement of the city while still having access to a quiet retreat for daily life.
The Architecture of Newton Center
The many different architectural styles continue to delight residents and visitors to the area to this day. As a result, the village of Newton Center established a walking tour for members of the public to view the mansions from various architectural period including Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Richardson Romanesque, Colonial Revival, Gothic Cathedral and the Italianate style. The small cottages, multi-story homes, Victorian mansions and Renaissance Revival cathedrals all contribute to creating a unique and vibrant local texture.
An example of a Greek Revival style of building can be clearly seen in the Henry M. Field House. It has a mansard roof and a distinctive hierarchy of detail and ornaments toward the pinnacle of the structure. Corinthian columns and Palladian windows were also prevalent in the architectural tastes of this period. The Newton Corner Branch Library is one of the few examples of the Colonial Revival period of the 1900s that is open and available for public viewing. Residents as well as visitors enjoy walking through these historic areas to absorb the many architectural details on display.
Commerce and Civic Life
Newton Center hosts a large commercial center, which is constructed from a triangular form. Three large streets intersect to form the village, and these streets are Beacon, Center and Langley. The downtown area of Newton Center has the largest amount of space designated as a high-end shopping center. This attracts many visitors from Boston as well as the surrounding villages.
Newton City Hall is a significant site in this area, and there are many ways for residents to get involved with the various aspects of city life. For example, volunteers can sign up to get involved with city projects by participating in a commission or by serving on a board. The Human Rights Commission and the Board of Alderman are just two examples. Many committees deal with preserving historic sites and improving the surrounding buildings. Other volunteer activities may involve snow removal or leaf blowing.