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Newton At A Glance

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Surrounded on three sides by the Charles River, Newton has a population of about 85,000. Located seven miles west of Boston, the city is easy to access by public transportation or personal vehicle and is known worldwide for its exceptional schools, community and quality of life. See what The Garden City of Newton has to offer.

Brief History

Formerly home to the Nonatum of the Massachusetts tribe, who were convinced to move to nearby Natick, the first European colonists settled in the area in 1630. Newton was originally part of Cambridge. Its current name is from the old name of New Towne. Growth came based on the newest form of transportation, such as the move to streetcars and later the automobile. Even with more dense growth, the village of Oak Hill was farmland until the mid-1900s.

It is a unique community of 13 villages that each has its own individuality. For instance, Nonantum has an Italian heritage, Waban's focus is Lassell College, while Newton Centre is known as a large shopping destination for upscale western Bostonians. Newton, however, is not a commuter city of Boston, as most residents live and work in Newton and nearby towns. While most villages have a post office, there are no clear village boundaries.

The 26-mile Boston Marathon runs through a few of Newton's villages on its way to the finish line in Boston giving the city national attention each year. One of the most difficult marathons due to the hilly terrain, especially in the Newton section of the course, runners must also brave the unpredictable April weather to finish.


From Auburndale to Waban, many of the city's villages have historic neighborhoods with buildings dating back hundreds of years. Newton's school system is excellent and it prides itself on its natural amenities that beautify the city. All crime, but especially violet crime, is extremely low. Property values continue to retain their worth, making Newton a good long-term investment for homebuyers, albeit pricey.

Natural Livability

Newton has made the lists for great places to live in the U.S. Named fourth best place to live among small cities in 2012 and one of only five cities to receive the U.S. Conference of Mayors Livability Award in 1993. What makes this small city so livable? It was the first city in Massachusetts to initiate a curbside recycling program and has planted 6,800 tree seedlings throughout the city as part of a pilot tree bank program granted to only to three U.S. cities. Add parks, Crystal Lake and bike and fitness paths, and it's easy to see why Newton is such a habitable place to live on the Charles River.

People and Jobs

The population is diverse with small percentages of African American and Latin American residents. There are sizable Asian, Arab-American and Jewish communities. The majority of jobs are in the health, education and social service industries with a lesser number of jobs in the financial and insurance sectors, wholesale/retail and manufacturing.

Getting Around

It's an easy commute to Boston for work or play or other nearby areas. Roadways include the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes 128 and 9. Both commuter and light rail is available providing local transportation around the area and to nearby Boston.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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