Strong Block Local Landmark


Issue summary

The Newton Historical Commission will be considering the nomination of the Strong Block to be designated as a Newton Local Landmark at their March meeting. We, the residents of Newton and more specifically, Waban will have an opportunity to voice our opinions at the meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 23rd, 7:00pm. The NHC Agenda with the zoom link is here - link.

If accepted, the next step in the landmarking process is the generation of a Landmark Report for the property. The report informs the NHC members and the public on the historic merits for the property. A public hearing is then scheduled and culminates with the Newton Historical Commission taking a vote on the Local Landmark designation.   

Issue full description

On March 23rd, the Newton Historical Commission (NHC) will be considering and voting on the acceptance of the Strong Block nomination for a Local Landmark designation. As background, this iconic building is individually listed (NWT.3741), as well as group listed (NWT.DV) on the National Register of Historic Places. It sits at the top of Beacon Street in the heart of Waban Village Center.  

Here is an excerpt of the supplemental material posted for the Strong Block consideration:

Supplemental Materials_posted 03-15-23 

The NHC Full Packet for the meeting.


Why landmark?

Local Landmark Process in the City of Newton 

Established in 1993 under City Ordinance Chapter 22, Sections 22-60 through 22-75, Newton’s Local Landmark Ordinance authorizes the Newton Historical Commission to designate individual properties as Newton Landmark Preservation Sites. The Landmarks Ordinance in the City of Newton provides the highest level of protection for properties determined to be the most architecturally or historically significant in the city. Under the Landmarks program, the Newton Historical Commission identifies buildings, structures, landscapes, and places, which define the historic character of the city and have, over time, helped to establish a sense of place.


Newton Zoning Ordinance

Chapter 22 - DIVISION 3. LANDMARKS - link 

A Landmark is defined in the Landmark Ordinance as 

Landmark: any building, structure, landscape, or place which has been designated for preservation for reasons of its historic significance in accordance with Section 22-64. 

Sec. 22-60. Landmark Preservation—enactment and purpose. 

This division is enacted pursuant to the authority derived from section 6 of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Charter of the City of Newton. 

The purpose of this enactment is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through: 

(a)  the preservation and protection of the distinctive architecture and other characteristics of buildings, structures, landscapes, and places significant in the history and prehistory of the City of Newton, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States of America; 

(b)  the maintenance and improvement of settings for such buildings, structures, landscapes, and places; and 

(c)  the discouragement of destruction of or damage to such resources and the encouragement of compatible development. 


A landmark cannot be demolished, or a landmark preservation site altered, without prior review and authorization from the Newton Historical Commission - NZO Sec. 22-66. 


The steps for landmarking a property were presented and discussed at February and March meetings of the Waban Area Council. The slide decks below explains the process as defined in the Landmark Ordinance. 

Strong Block - Waban Hall Landmarking Considerations, given at the Waban Area Council Meeting - February 9, 2023 - link.

Strong Block Landmarking Process, given at the Waban Area Council Meeting - March 9, 2023 - link

Here is the link to City of Newton webpage for Newton City Landmarks - link and the link to the full Landmark Ordinance -  link.


Landmarks in Waban

Waban is fortunate to have a few properties landmarked. Here are their Landmark Reports.

Landmark Reports:

John Woodward House - 50 Fairlee Road, Waban - link

Eleazer Hyde House - 401 Woodward Street, Waban - link

Frederick Collins House - 1734 Beacon Street, Waban - link

Staples-Craft-Wiswall Farm - 1615 Beacon Street, Waban - link