Newton Upper Falls news, activities and events
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 from somewhere in the neighborhood.  The game is to figure out where in Upper Falls you can see this carved stone date.  (answer below)

Where Have We Been? The last issue of the Upper Falls News was way back in early November, so this issue is long overdue.  Unfortunately we've been dealing with matters of the heart - i.e. the UFN editor's wife has had major heart surgery.  We're happy to report that Marie's up and running, her hearts beating regularly, her bloods flowing nicely, and all is well again.  Many thanks to all of you who helped out in so many ways while her plumbing was getting fixed.  Now it's time to start catching up on the news.

What's Up with the Greenway? - The ground was broken back in October for the Upper Falls Greenway, our new mile long park along the old railroad tracks.  At the groundbreaking the projected schedule was six weeks to complete the project.  If you've been down there recently you can see that clearly that schedule's gone out the window.   The tracks have been removed along the whole length of the trail, the ties have been removed along a large fraction of the route, and then the work stopped.  The delay is due to the fact that Iron Horse (the builder) got last minute permission from the private property owners to remove the track along the spur line.  The spur runs from the main line near Tower Rd, across Needham Street and then bends around behind the Starck buildings to Christina St.  This is good news since it means the Greenway may eventually be connected to the large network of trails that run all the way up to Cutler Park in Needham St.  The bad news is that it delayed work on the mainline once the hard frost set in.   The remainder of the project has been postponed until early spring.  Once the weather warms up they should be able to complete it fairly quickly.

Upper Falls Home Laboratory - While walking on the Greenway construction site, my daughter and her friend picked up and brought home one of the many, many railroad spikes that were lying around down there.  The spikes were completely caked in 100+ years of thick rust.   The recovering heart patient (mentioned above) decided to try a series of experiments.  An often told tale is that sitting something in Coca Cola for extended periods will eat through all sorts of materials.  She soaked a spike for 3 or 4 days, rinsed it off and it looked pretty much the same,  Next she decided to try ketchup which is a mild acid.  The spike was soaked in a ketchup filled Ziploc bag for about a week.  When it was next checked there was a promising sign.  The bright red ketchup had turned the dark brown color of barbecue sauce.   Sure enough, once the spike was washed off a sizable amount of the rust had been dissolved.   A quick rub with some steel wool, a new load of ketchup, and a few more days - here's a before and an after photo of the power of ketchup.  I'm sure with one more treatment the remaining black spots can be removed too.  Extra tip: putting it in a warm spot will speed up the process quite a bit.

So if you want an Upper Falls historic neighborhood heirloom, go buy a bottle of ketchup and grab a few of the spikes before the Greenway work crew returns in the spring, and get to work.

Countryside Summer Camp Auction - Countryside Schools PTO's annual on-line summer camp auction is going on all this week and next.  Place your bid here and you may score a deal on camp for your kids this summer.  This is the PTO's big fundraiser of the year so get to it, start bidding, and drive those prices up.

Better Late Than Never - Back In December, Margaret Alexander on Rockland Place sent this request for help to the UF News readers.  "The post office delivered one of those mangled pieces of mail to our house encased in plastic. Apparently something got caught in one of the sorting machines and they were just making the best guess they could as to who should get it. we’re not the correct guess though.  a corner of the envelope was left intact.  Attached is a photo of the front of the envelope.  Could you put this in your next newsletter so we can send the card along to rightful owner? thanks."   So if you know anyone named Cothcone or Cotticone who now lives on, or used to live on Rockland Place, let us know how to get in touch with them.

Area Council Meeting on Thursday -  Fresh from being sworn in for a new term last week, the newly elected Upper Falls Area Council will be holding their January meeting this Thursday at 7 PM at the Emerson Community Center on Pettee St.  The meetings are open to the public.  If you have any neighborhood issues that you'd like to raise or if you just want to hear what's going on in the village, stop by on Thursday night.

High Street Houses Sold - From what we've heard, the two multi-family buildings at 80 and 82 High Street were recently sold.  Dumpsters have been filled, surveyors have been surveying, and we've heard that the tenants have all moved out..  It definitely looks like something's going on there.   Both buildings have been in pretty bad shape for quite a while so we have high hopes that any new plans will only be for the better.

Chairwoman Gaherin - Upper Falls own Seana Gaherin, co-owner of Dunn-Gaherins restaurant on Elliot St, was just elected to a two year term as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Newton Chamber of Commerce.  Congrats to Seana on her new post.  I think Upper Falls busiest woman must have been looking for something to fill all her spare time.

Did You Know ... .that the oldest (known) man to have ever lived died this year at age 116. "Did you know ..." features an interesting and random fact every issue, collected by eleven-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 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

"Where am I" Answer - That stone date adorns Upper Falls most famous landmark - Echo Bridge, just above the main arch.  Thanks to regular contributor Larry Smith for this issue's "Where am I?"

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