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Village Profile: Nonantum


Newton, MA

Nonantum Newtown MA Downtown

Nonantum is located in the northeastern part of Newton - bordering Watertown. The main commercial area lays between Adams Street and Faxon Street on Watertown Street. Another commercial area sits along California Street. This village has more manufacturing use than the other villages. The Nonantum Advisory Commitee and the Nonantum Neighborhood Association monitor the community development. Once known as The Lake, Nonantum is infamous for its Italian heritage - celebrated by annual street festivals including the St. Mary of Carmen Festival in July. The town's namesake, Silver Lake, was filled in and built up beginning in the 1930's. However, some locals still speak the improvisational Lake dialect. The current name, Nonantum, comes from an Algonquian word meaning blessing or prayer.

newton real estate nonantum houses for sale for lease
For Lease - Nonantum - click here for more

For Lease - Nonantum - click here for more.

Lake Talk is a topolect or cant spoken most often amont older Italian-American residents. The origins of Lake Talk are unknown. An article from the Boston Globe speculated that it is a blend of Italian and some World War II code but others tie its roots to Angloromani or Itlalian Romany slang. Many people in the village have ancestors that were natives of San Donato Val di Comino, Italy.

The city has recently established the Small Business Facade Improvment program which offers financial assistance to eligible small businesses and non-profits to make exterior improvements to their storefronts.  

Check out some old photos of Nonantum below:

Nonantum Square in Newton MA
Nonantum Square - 1896

"The Nonantum Vacation School - Woodworking" - 1906

For more historic snapshots, check out The Newton Free Library - founded in 1870 as a free public library. Their unique collection depicts local Newton life primarily from the 19th to early 20th century when it was transforming from agricultural to industrial and becoming a popular Boston suburb. They have a wide range of historic items including photos, maps, voter lists, yearbooks, municipal directories and other things to "promote educational, cultural and recreational enrichment."

Here are some local resources to help you explore Nonantum with the click of a button: