01-18-13 News

Newton Upper Falls news, activities and events
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The Upper Falls News is an email newsletter about what's going on in our village.  The Upper Falls News is brought to you by the Upper Falls Area Council but it's intended to cover any and all news in the village. 

Where am I? - Here's a photo of some place in Upper Falls without its surrounding context.  The game is to look at the photo and identify where in Upper Falls it is.  This one also has an extra credit question.  What does this picture have to do with the history of Newton? (Answer below)


More Echo Bridge Music - This is one more in a series of Echo Bridge related YouTube musical videos that we've featured in the Upper Falls News over the last year.  This one stands out for its abysmal camera work and the glacial pacing of the song.  That aside, I still kinda liked it.

Wildlife Watch - Sara Ramirez reported that they spotted both a fox and one of its less handsome animal brethren -- a possum -- this past week at their Summer Street house.   It was not too many years ago that possums first arrived in Massachusetts. The first time, a few years back, that I spotted a possum on a road in West Roxbury, I spent a few days telling people that there were rats the size of small dogs roaming our streets at night.  Somehow, learning it was really a possum, made it OK.

That's a Long Two Weeks - The stairs from Echo Bridge down to Ellis St were supposed to be out of commission "for a few weeks".  They've now been closed for three months, here's what's going on.

A Nitpicking New Business - An odd, but when you need it, you need it, business recently opened in Upper Falls.  Lice Aunties, a head lice removal service opened in December at 90 Oak St.  Up until recently they operated as a mobile business.  This is their first fixed-location treatment center.  If that scalp of yours is feeling a bit itchy, you might want to avail yourself of their free Tuesday afternoon head lice check - available by appointment only through January. 

Neighborhood School Meeting - The Upper Falls Area Council's Schools Subcommittee will hold its first public meeting this coming Thursday (1/24) 7 PM in the Emerson Community Center.  Agenda items include issues arising from Upper Falls being in a school buffer zone and exploration of possibilities for a future elementary school in Upper Falls.

Newton North Students to the Rescue - A year or so ago, I (your UF News editor) put together a simple demonstration of an idea called the Upper Falls Live History Map.  In a nutshell, it's a way to gather the history of the neighborhood that's in everyone's heads and collect it and display via a Google maps based tool.  Take a look at the simple demo here.  The problem was that I'm too lazy to actually build the real version.  Last wee, I presented the project to a class of Newton North students and just got the word that three of them have volunteered to work on the project.  With this student crew on board, we hope to have the Live History Map up and running by the end of the school year.

Did You Know ... ? Rats can't vomit or burp"Did You Know ...?"  features an interesting and random fact every issue, collected by ten-year-old Upper Falls resident Jayla Reilly.

Send Us Your News - If you have any upcoming events, activities, news, trivia, stories, anecdotes or jokes related to Upper Falls just send them to news@UpperFallsNews.org and we'll include them in the next newsletter.  For those who prefer living in the past, back issues of the Upper Falls News are archived at UpperFallsNews.org.

'Where Am I" Answer - That fire alarm box is just outside of The Biltmore on Chestnut Sreett.  Here's the big picture.  There's also another one up on Pettee Sreett, just around the corner from High Street.

In the 1800's fire was a perennial threat.  Over and over, in cities across the country, horrific fires burnt buildings to the ground before help could arrive.  In the 1850's a Boston man devised a system of electrically operated firm alarms that could signal a fire station a long distance away.  The Gamewell Fire Alarm and Telegraph Company was formed to commercialize this invention and a local Newton company called Crane and Company built the devices for Gamewell.   The factory was on the banks of Crystal Lake roughly where the present day bathhouse is.   Until telephones became prevalent in the next century, the nation's cities relied on these Gamewell fire alarms as their primary fire alarm system.  The alarm in this photo was built in Medway, MA where the Gamewell manufacturing eventually moved to, but here's a picture of an original Newton-made box.