The town of Weston was originally established as the West Precinct of Watertown in 1698. The town was separately incorporated as the town of Weston in 1713. Weston is located on a rugged upland plateau. Early settlers discovered that the amount of useful agricultural land was limited as was the waterpower potential in the town. But colonists moving in from Watertown in the mid-17th century established scattered farms in Weston, and by 1679, a sawmill, several taverns, some doctors, and according to the historians, “probably some lawyers,” had settled in Weston.
By the 18th century, residents were profiting by the traffic on the Boston Post Road. Taverns of great historic importance were established on the Road. The Golden Ball Tavern, built in 1750, and the Josiah Smith Tavern, built in 1757, still exist in the town. Unfortunately, commercial stagnation followed the loss of business after the opening of the Worcester Turnpike in 1810 drew commercial traffic from the Boston Post Road. Townspeople turned to boot and shoe making, and the manufacturing of cotton and woolen mill machinery. By 1870, substantial country estates were being built in Weston by Bostonians, establishing a prosperous residential character for the town. Farming continued to be a significant support for the local economy, and an organ factory opened in 1886 which employed some residents. The Weston Aqueduct and Reservoir were built in 1903 and the Hultman Aqueduct followed in 1938 to bring Quabbin Reservoir water into Boston. In exchange, Boston residents continued to build homes in Weston, many of them architect designed.
Some famous architects such as McKim and Richardson designed luxurious houses in the town, which witnessed a rapid increase in population from 1920 to 1935, and then again after World War II. The Boston oriented suburbanization has continued as a major factor in the town’s development. Residents are very proud of the town’s school system and the handsome homes in quiet, well-kept neighborhoods, but tend to brush off the town’s reputation as one of the most affluent communities in the state. Weston has carefully retained significant amounts of open space and maintains over 60 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, playgrounds, ball fields, golf courses and cross-country skiing areas.
Moody Street in downtown Waltham offers its own brand of entertainment with a colorful assortment of shops, restaurants, and bars, including The Gaff, Outer Limits, Gourmet Pottery, and the Embassy Cinema. Moody Street’s booming nightlife, convenience to the commuter rail and lower rents has attracted younger professionals to Waltham in growing numbers in recent years. Moody Street is also referred to as “Restaurant Row” because of the number, variety and quality of its restaurants.
Weston was also the home of the E. and G.G. Hook & Hastings organ company until a fire destroyed the factory in the early 1900s. After the fire broke out the fire department responded however the water source (Stony Brook) was just on the other side of the railroad tracks. As the firemen were fighting the fire a train came along and cut all the hoses leaving the firemen without water and having to scurry to replace the cut hoses. Unfortunately for the factory this required more time and the fire consumed the wooden factory.