Lower Falls has a rich history. Enjoy the wonderful slide presentation prepared in 2020 by a neighbor Tori Zissman about this history of Lower Falls from the native American village of Coowate, the first European settler in the mid 1600's to the current day.
The Newton Lower Falls commercial area is found along Washington Street near the border with the Town of Wellesley. Located to the west of Route 129/I-95, this village benefits from easy access to the highway and is also close to the Riverside and Woodland MBTA Green Line stations. The village takes its name from its location on the Charles River.
Newton Lower Falls connections to the invention of the telephone
According to the “Discover Lower Falls” walking tour, telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell was an occasional visitor to 122 Concord St. Less well known is the contribution of local inventor Francis Blake to the development of the telephone and the success of the Bell Telephone Company. The Blake Transmitter, which dramatically increased the quality of early telephone transmissions, gave the Bell Company a tremendous advantage over Thomas Edison and its other competitors. Blake used the profits from his Bell Telephone stock to add to the fabulous estate “Keewaydin” across the river from Lower Falls in Weston (aerial photo). For details about this fascinating man see “Francis Blake: An Inventor’s Life” by Elton Hall at the Newton Public Library.
According to Hall’s book Blake was born in Lower Falls in 1850 although he only lived here a few years (the Mass. Historical Society website says he was born in Needham). After attending Brookline High School he used his mathematical skill to work for the US Coast Survey where he learned about telegraphy and scientific instruments. In 1873 he married Elizabeth Hubbard at St. Mary’s Church with the Rev. Phillips Brooks of Trinity Church, Boston presiding. The Blakes settled on the Hubbard family estate across the river in Weston. Blake and his brother-in-law Charles Hubbard donated the land that is now the Weston side of the Leo Martin golf course. In his experiments with high speed photography Blake documented life on his estate. The estate was torn down and subdivided in the 1960s, but remnants of it can be seen in the stone walls at the intersection of Blake Rd. & Park Rd. in Weston and in the white pines that Blake planted along the railroad tracks in the early 1900s.