History of Land Development in Waltham, Mass.
The land to the east of Newton Street was one of the parcels, which Francis C. Lowell II bought from Nancy Spring's holdings in 1844 and consisted of 60 acres of woodlot and pasture along the Charles River called the "Brush Pasture" (MLR 459/65 and 68). It stretched east from today's Newton Street about 2,000 feet (to about Flood Street) and south from the river about 1,600 feet (to about Clinton Street). Marshall Spring had acquired the lot in 1802 as part of the much larger Captain Joshua Fuller Farm, see below.
In 1845, Lowell sold to the Newton Chymical Company some of his Brush Pasture land on the east side of Newton Street, opposite the land the company already owned on the west side of Newton Street. (MLR 478/80 and 81). The lot went from opposite about where Pine Street comes into Newton Street, south to the back yard line between today's Clinton and Cutter Streets, and from Newton Street east to the back yard line on the west of Cedar Street.
In 1846, Lowell sold most of the northeast corner of the "Brush Pasture" to Horatio Moore (MLR 495/98). Moore was the manager of the Newton Chymical Company, associated with the Boston Manufacturing Company, at the time. The lot, containing a bit over 10 acres, stretched from east to west from today's house lots on the east of Flood Street to those on the west of Moore Street, and from north to south from today's house lots on the south side of today's Calvary Street (then called "Spring Street") to those on the south of today's John Street. Lowell maintained possession of the strip of land between Calvary Street and the river. Moore sold the lot for today's No. 6 John Street to Patrick Kenny, who worked for the Newton Chymical Company, in 1855 (MLR 747/251), and the house was built sometime between 1855 and 1860. Lowell sold the lot for today's No. 142 Calvary Street, on the north side of Calvary Street, to James Shaughnessy in 1866 (MLR 992/438 and 1023/88), who sold it to Mary Dolan in 1873 (MLR 1294/304), and the house was built between 1873 and 1875.
In 1849, Lowell sold a one third part interest in another portion of his "Brush Pasture" acquisition also to Horatio Moore (MLR 568/208). This lot stretched south from today's Calvary Street, past Oak Street, to include the lots on both sides of Cedar Street. On the west side of the street, it stretched south for about 900 feet to Clinton Street (including today's No. 53 Cedar Street) and about 180 feet west from Cedar Street. On the east side of the street, it stretched south about 1000 feet to include the lot of today's No. 72 Cedar Street, and about 215 feet east from Cedar Street. In 1855, Lowell and Moore sold the lot for today's No. 60 Cedar Street to Michael McDonald (MLR 718/352), and the house appears to have been built that same year.
The Waltham Highlands is considered to be the part of Waltham lying north of the former Massachusetts Central Railroad right of way (just south of Guinan Street), south of the "Lanes" section of the Piety Corner area (just north of Dale Street), west of Bacon Street, and east of Prospect Hill Park. However, some houses on and off Dale Street east of Bacon Street will also be included. The survey is also limited to houses built before around 1900, or shortly thereafter. Before the mid-1800s, most of the western portion of this land was heavily forested, while some the eastern portion near Bacon Street was used for farming, as well as for wood lots and peat bogs. Geographically, Bacon Street marks the approximate dividing line between upland areas to the west and wet meadow lands to the east (merging into the Chester Brook, Beaver Brook, and Charles River plains).
- Fuller and Williams Colonial Farms
- The "Island" and "Cram's Cove" Area
- Forest Grove Area
- Parmenter Road and Derby Street Areas
- Chemistry Village Area – East of Newton Street to Flood Street, and North of High Street to the Charles River
- Calvary Cemetery Area
- Watch Factory (Waltham Improvement Company), Crescent Street Area
- South of the Watch Factory, West of Moody Street, and North of the Island Area
- Boston Manufacturing Company Area (Charles River to Taylor Street/Moody to Newton Streets)
- Newton Chymical (Chemical) Company Area (Lowell to Cedar Streets/Charles River to Fuller Street)
- Central South Side Area (Taylor to High Streets/West of Moody to Lowell Streets; High to Derby Streets/Lowell to Tolman Streets)
- Washington and Wadsworth Avenues Area Just East of Moody Street
- Spruce and Crescent Street Area
Waltham's Antebellum Mill Village Area →
Waltham was initially settled during the 1600s as an outlying part of Watertown and was not incorporated as a separate town until 1738. Consequently, it did not possess a town center recognizable as an architectural entity until as late as the 1830s. In the late 1700s an incipient town center had started to form near where Linden Street meets Main Street. However, after the coming of the Boston Manufacturing Company (BMC) in 1814, the commercial and industrial center of Waltham shifted down Main Street about one mile west to the present "Central Square" around the “Common”. In a sense, the area between Main Street and the river and from Moody Street to Newton Street can be considered Waltham's pre-Civil War mill village.
The Manors, a Gallery of 19th and Early 20th Century Homes →
The Waltham Historical Society’s tour of the historical sites found in the Lyman and Pleasant Streets area of Waltham, the area roughly bounded by Lyman Street in the west, Ellison Park in the east, Beaver Street in the north, and Main Street in the south. This is a self-guided tour to survey the exteriors and surroundings of the many fine historical structures that still exist along the route. Because most of the tour is along major streets, please be very careful when driving or walking. While driving, in general, it is dangerous even to slow down. Parking must be done only where public parking is legally permitted. Finally, please be very respectful of, and do not enter, private property. Arrangements have not been made for touring the interiors of the houses and buildings on the tour.