First established in 1975, the Newton Upper Falls Local Historic District was created to protect the unique and historic character of one of Newton’s first villages, and its early industrial center. The village of Newton Upper Falls has long been recognized as a historically important and architecturally intact neighborhood displaying the early development of the 19th century mill village built along the Charles River. The original District was established around the earliest area of 19th century development in the village, but was enlarged in 1978 and 1985 to include the village’s next stage of development stretching into the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1986, the Newton Upper Falls Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, acknowledging the historical significance and architectural integrity of the District. The National Register Nomination describes the District as having retained the 19th century flavor of its rich industrial past and as the most distinctive village in Newton.
The architecture of the Newton Upper Falls Local Historic District consists of a mix of residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional structures, most of which date from the 19th century. Residential structures built near the village’s commercial and industrial center were typically designed as housing for early mill workers in the Federal and Greek Revival styles which were popular through the mid 19th century. Residential construction in the second half of the century is commonly found up the hill from the Charles River around the edges of the earlier village and is typically Italianate, Colonial Revival and Queen Anne in style and detailing. Regardless of the date of construction, Newton Upper Falls dwellings are characteristically modest with simple detailing appropriate to the original style of its construction. The District’s commercial, industrial and institutional structures are larger in scale and grander in design than the village’s residential structures. Their architectural styles vary dramatically depending on their date of construction, use and location. In considering the important characteristics of these structures, it is important to recognize the intent of the original design, its scale, massing, original materials and siting.
Letter to Newton Upper Falls Historic District Owners and Residents