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Quirk Court in Nonantum, a village of Newton MA, circa 1890.

Whether it was called the North Village or Nonantum, this neighborhood had a nucleus of inexpensive houses that made it the shared home of successive waves of immigrants.

The Irish came in the early 1800's, working mostly in residential construction and domestic service.  Many of the street names reflect their development of the neighborhood.

The French Canadians came in the 1880's, working mostly as skilled laborers in the mills.

Adams Street in Nonantum, a village of Newton MA, circa 1890.

The Italian Americans came next, finding work in the expanding railroads and the public works projects of the rapidly growing city.  (The 1880's saw the introduction of commuter train service and the electric streetcar.)

When the Jews arrived here in the late 1800s, they became the fourth component of the neighborhood.

By 1895, Nonantum was the most densely populated area in Newton.

For generations, this small neighborhood attracted a religious and ethnic mix which has given it a character all its own, a character cherished by its residents.

(The upper photo shows Quirk Court .  The lower photo is of Adams Street .  Both taken around 1890.  Click on either photo to view details on a larger version.)