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Village Profile: Waban


Newton, MA

Waban of Newton MA
Beacon Street

Waban was named the third most affluent and well-educated zip code in the nation in a 2013 study by the Washington Post. The study was based on the index of the percent of college graduates and median household income. It is also the most affluent zip code in the state of Massachusetts.

The median real estate price in Waban is $1,070,668 - more expensive than 99% of the neighborhoods in Massachusetts and 98% of the neighborhoods in the US. The real estate is mostly  made up of medium to large sized single-family homes and apartments. Many of the residences in the neighborhood are relatively historic, built no later than 1939 and in some cases much earlier.

Waban MA Homes
$3.2 million - Waban - click here for more

Waban MA Homes
$2.6 million - Waban - click here for more

The village of Waban is named after a Nonantum Indian Chief who previously resided atop Nonantum Hill. This location is believed to have been a favorite hunting groud for Waban (the Wind) and his people. William C. Strong, a Newton resident active in the development of Waban, suggested the name.

In his history of the town, Dr. Lawrence Strong - son of William Strong - wrote,

"My father, William Chamberlain Strong, was very active in securing the right-of-way for the Boston and Albany Railroad at the time the Newton Circuit Road was built. The location of a station here marked a potential village, and a name was required. My father had previously lived on Nonantum Hill in Brighton, where Waban, the Chief of the Indian tribe Nonantum, had his wigwam, and where Eliot, the Apostle to the Indians, preached. A memorial marks this spot today. So the name "Waban" for the new village easily suggested itself to my father. I am told Waban, or Wabanoki, means "east" in the Indian tongue. The spelling of the name cannot be held to coincide with its pronunciation. I believe the pronunciation is correct and the correct spelling would be either Wauban or more probably Waughban."

Waban Neighborhood Club

Colonial settlement was a slow process in Waban. Though settlers came to Newton as early as the 163-s, more than a generation passed before the Woodwards established themselves in Waban. The couple received a title to a 30-acre property as a wedding present in 1681 and eight generations later, their decedents still occupy the original house. The structure still stands and is one of the 16 historic properties designated as a Newton Landmark Preservation Site. Other settlers soon followed in the Woodward's footsteps and by the 18th century several large farms had been established.

In the mid 1880s interest in suburban devlopments ear the Boston and Albany Railroad became increasingly widespread. Real estate investors purchased large tracts of land along the new Highland Branch of the railroad. The completion of the Highland Branch in May 1886 is still hailed as one of the most important events in the history of Newton because it stimulated suburban development around the Newton highlands, lliot and Waban stations. Daily commuter trains linking the village to downtown Boston soon brought a steady influx of businessmen, professionals and tradesmen. These newcomers to Waban built houses ranging from simple wood framed structures to large, elaborate residences, many of which were designed by architects and set on spacious lots. The residences, churches and public buildings featured in this walking tour represent several phases of Waban's development. The village contains many fine examples of well-preserved historical architecture. 

Check out some historic photos of Waban:

"Waban Branch Library - Gift of Waban citizens" - 1930

"Waban Station on the Boston & Albany Railroad" - 1855

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 resources to help you explore Waban with the click of a button: