KingsHandbookThere’s never been anything like the Internet for just wasting time.

This afternoon I stumbled on an 1889 book called King’s Handbook of Newton.  It’s 346 pages of more than you ever wanted to know about early Newton history and has lots of very nice engravings of lots of old house and buildings.  It was apparently one of a series of King’s Handbooks of various towns and cities.

The first paragraph of the introduction caught my eye:

This book has been prepared as a popular household companion for all the families who make their home in any of the fifteen villages which together form “The Newtons”, the garden city of Massachusetts.

So it appears that back in 1897, this blog would be called Village16.   In their accounting, Elliot, Nonantum Hill, Woodland, and Riverside were all villages and Thompsonville was not.  So some things haven’t changed, even back then the majority of citizens didn’t know about Thompsonville.

My favorite highlights of the section on Upper Falls were the tale of those dastardly “hydraulic bandits” in Dedham stealing the entire water flow of the Charles River before the governor stepped in and limited them to stealing only 1/3 of the water.

and this poem:

Newton Upper Falls is split in two parts 

Where we learn the sciences and fine arts

We have all sorts of trades, all kinds of trash

Machine shops, cotton mills, but not much cash



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