Newton was settled in 1630 as part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. As with most regions in this area, several American Indian tribes called this area home before the European colonists arrived in the New World. Upon the arrival of the new citizens, many friendships and disagreements occurred, leading to the displacement of some and the establishment of protected areas for the tribes. Today, one of these, the Narragansett still live and work in the area. Most notably, the Narraganset have established a successful shellfish operation and market their products both locally and internationally.
Newton was incorporated as a town known as Cambridge Village in 1688. It was renamed Newtown in 1691 and finally Newton in 1766. It became a city in 1873. Newton is known as The Garden City. The city is unique in that it does not have a single town center, but is rather a patchwork of 13 "villages," many boasting small "downtown" areas of their own. The 13 villages are:Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls, Newtonville, Nonantum (also called The Lake), Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Waban , and West Newton. Although most of the villages have a post office, they have no legal definition and no firmly defined borders.
Today, with an estimated population of 83,829 residents, the city is a vibrant community that is desirable as a place to live and work due to its proximity to Boston, nearness to various highway and public transportation systems, attractive neighborhoods and high property values, well-run municipal government, and a strong, nationally-recognized school system. Newton has well maintained parks, bicycle and fitness trails, golf courses, a public pool and lake. From July through October there is an outdoor Farmer's Market. Newton has a new, state-of-the-art, award-winning library which served 602,951 people in 1993, and is home to the Jackson Homestead Museum, one of 712 nationally-accredited museums. Among the many arts and cultural organizations and activities, Newton has a Symphony Orchestra, resident theatre groups and an Arts in the Parks Program.
Newton is home to Boston College, located in the city's historic village of Chestnut Hill, and Boston College Law School, located on a separate campus between Newton Centre and Newton Corner. There are several other institutions of higher education in the city including Andover Newton Theological School, Lasell College, Hebrew College, and Mount Ida College. The city also has two symphony orchestras, the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Massachusetts and the Newton Symphony Orchestra.
Additional sites and attractions in the city include: The Jackson Homestead, now the Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead and is best known for its history as a stop on the Underground Railroad; Echo Bridge, a notable 19th-century masonry arch bridge with views of the river and Hemlock Gorge in Newton Upper Falls just off Route 9; and Norumbega Park, located in the Auburndale section of Newton on the Charles River that opened in 1897 as a trolley park and was later converted to an amusement park, closed in 1963 and now is a popular dog-walking site with hills, meadows, woods, and access to the river.