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June 01, 2015 Likes Comments

‘Legendary Locals’ chronicles Newton’s business history

Even before Newton became one of the country’s first railroad suburbs, the town (which wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1874) housed many businesses that remain an important part of its historical fabric. Mills that sat on the Charles River at both Upper and Lower Falls date back to the late 17th century, and factories that manufactured candles, glue, furniture and chemicals began populating other parts of the city toward the end of the 18th century. In 1897, the Stanley Brothers, who lived in Newton Corner for many years, invented the Stanley steam-powered automobile.

Stories about some of these businesses – dating back to the founding of the town until present day – are now available to read in the newly-released, “Legendary Locals of Newton,” by Gail Spector.

“Legendary Locals of Newton,” published by Arcadia Publishing, is a collection of profiles and photos of Newton residents and business owners who have dedicated their lives to making Newton – or the world – a better place.

Spector is a writer and journalist who covered Newton for 12 years as a Boston Globe correspondent and Newton TAB editor and is a blogger at

Spector shares interesting tidbits about business owners like the Stanley Brothers, who built 14,000 Stanley steam cars in the Stanley Motor Carriage Company of Newton; Seana Gaherin, owner of Dunn-Gaherin Food and Spirits; Marshall Sloane, Century Bank Founder; and Paulette Harwood, founder of Paulette’s Ballet Studio.

The 128-page book contains profiles of people both well-known and obscure. Spector, who has lived in Newton for 31 years, wrote, “These pages hardly contain the number of legends I uncovered and would have liked to include. There is no shortage of stories to tell about our fine city; there was only a shortage of allotted words.”

Stories included in “Legendary Locals of Newton” feature the Prestejohn family and their acquisition of Cabot’s Ice Cream and Restaurant; O’Hara’s; and Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch, who created the recipe for Sam Adams beer in his Newton kitchen.

Readers will also learn about Toula Kourtis, owner and face of the Knotty Pine, and her journey from Greece to the United States as a 18-year-old bride with a husband she’d just met; Auburndale native and Village Bank Chairman of the Board Ken Brennan; and two of the men who brought fine dining to Newton: Jeff Fournier and Michael Leviton, owners and chefs at 51 Lincoln and Lumiere, respectively.

“Legendary Locals of Newton” is available at Newton bookstores and at

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