Newton Lower Falls
Newton Lower Falls is a historic community located across the Charles River from Wellesley, in the town of Newton, Massachusetts. Newton was established in 1630, and has a long, storied past. In its earliest years, Newton Lower Falls functioned as an industrial village. In 1704, the first dam was built by John Hubbard and Caleb Church as a means to power an ironworks. By the end of the 18th century, many more dams had been built, and the town was prospering.
Unfortunately, the prosperity of this little village lasted only until late in the 19th century, when more powerful mills in Western Massachusetts and Maine started to drag away much of the business. Throughout the beginning of the 20th century, the falls area continued to struggle. In the 1950’s, Route 128 was installed, and later in the 1970’s, urban renewal efforts came into play, both contributing to the demolition of much of what the falls area had once been. What remains today is a small area along Washington Street, with some residencies, a town wine shop, a Starbucks and of course The Mill at Newton Lower Falls.
Early in the 19th century, the town was producing a tremendous amount of paper goods, and this became known as its most prominent industry. By 1816, nine different mills operated with water power from two separate dams along the Charles River, the upper dam and the lower Washington Street dam. The success of these mills really established the Newton Lower Falls area as an industrial village that was booming at the time. With the success of the mills, and stagecoach service multiple times a week to and from Boston, the village really started to thrive.