The Farm Today
In 2005, the Angino family sold the farm
to the City of Newton which used Community Preservation Funds to make the purchase. The farm is now known as Newton Community Farm. The property has both land and historic conservation restrictions that require it stay as a farm with its historic landscape.
# 2 The Early Years (1905-1917)
Inaccuracies in the spelling the names of immigrants and other facts, even in official records, seem to have been common at the time.
Across the street from the Anginos was the larger brick schoolhouse that replaced the old school. This is where the Angino children first attended school.
"My mother came here and she was so thrilled to see there was a schoolhouse right across from our house. She wasn't dumb."
This school building fell out of use when an even larger school was built around 1937 for Oak Hill. It was used as a doctor’s office and then torn down.
#3 The Farm and the Family Economy (1917-1940’s)
When the Anginos started farming for themselves, their economic situation must have improved. Here the family could grow most of their own food and sell extra produce at food markets while Crescenzo continued to work for the Shaws. Shaw allowed the Anginos use of his fields across the street to grow additional crops and keep cows.
Crescenzo had brought tomato seeds with him from
They made wine from the grapevines that still hang from the fence.
The chickens were raised for eggs and meat and lived in the red painted chicken coops still on the farm today.
The family made their own pasta, butter, and jam. They canned tomatoes, beans, and blueberries and cooked on a huge wood stove in the kitchen. Their wine press was still in the basement when the farm was sold to the City in 2005.
According to building permits Crescenzo obtained from the City, he added or upgraded bathrooms and bedrooms to the house during these years.
"When my father bought the farm from the Halls, he had to do a lot of work on the house and the barn," said Rose.
Years before he moved to
"My brothers were good workers," said Rose. "They knew how to do everything."
The family attended Mass at the Working Boys Home (now the Jewish Community Center) because it was more convenient than going to the nearest Catholic church.
The youngest child, Ann Lacy (b. 1932) says that the sloping front yard was a hay meadow. One of her memories is haying time when residents of the poor farm from around the corner on Winchester Street would come over:
"People from the poorhouse would mow the front lawn for my father. They got to keep the hay, for their cows. One fellow Perry, who couldn't control the outflow of money for alcohol, was skilled with horses. He'd let me ride on the workhorses while he mowed."
Rose also remembers the poor farm. She liked to play with the daughter of the superintendent. (Although the poorhouse was demolished in about the 1950s, there still remains a brick outbuilding at the circular drive at
"I remember the poor people there," said Rose. "There were a lot of them, around 25 of them. They had a farm and they grew everything. A man named Leo lived on Vine Street and he was an odd person. He died at the poor house. When you take a parent away from his family, you don't think he's going to live, do you?"
Granddaughter Joan lived on the farm with her parents for the first five years of her life from 1939 to 1944 and then for subsequent summers and visits.
Her father Ernest had eloped with an Irish girl. Initially, neither family was happy to see a marriage outside their ethnic group, says Joan.
Cousins Donald and Ernest spent 14 summers working on the farm as kids. Ernest would have to wake up at to start work. At break time he and the other workers would eat pork chops and apple pie. When he came into the farmhouse for lunch Rose would have a big spread of steaming hot pies.
Nahanton Street was much closer to the house. It was a narrow, curvy, dirt road. It was straightened out in the 1950s or 1960s when Continental Can proposed building a big facility across the Charles River in Needham near where the Fed Ex and Coca Cola buildings are now.
(Evidence of old
"Everyone around here wanted to make a little money," said Rose.
Mrs. Wright operated the tea house and lived in the house. Sometimes guests who spend the night in the bedrooms upstairs. This is the Appleton farm where Crescenzo probably worked when he first arrived in the
(Julia’s husband Eddie driving tractor? Undated.)
Unidentified woman, man and boy.)
(Unidentified women on back steps. Undated.)
#7 Family Members as Adults
1875-1972. They had seven children:
Michael worked at Mass Electric with Francis and other family members. He had two kids.
Ernest worked as an electrician at Mass Electric. He was very active in the Newton Y (see section #9). He had four kids: Joan Melville, Nancy Laffey, Philip Angino, and Judy Brown.
Rose lived on the farm most of her life. Her son Jay says she moved from
Julia graduated from
“A few years after our marriage in
(Jerry Angino. Undated.)
One person who thinks the world of Jerry is Newton Community Farm volunteer Vaunita Schnell. She and Jerry were colleagues when she was a career guidance counselor in
“I’d often see Jerry out working the land,” says Barbara LaValle, who worked at the West Suburban YMCA and knew the Anginos. “They always took great care of the property. It was important to them. There was such a love of the land. They had a phenomenal work ethic. There was incredible family love there. They were close-knit.”
(Ernest accepting an award at the Y. A road race was started in his name in 1993.)
The Angino Room for babysitting was dedicated on
(A contemporary photo of Greci, the village where Lucia came from.)
After the trip Joan mailed photos back to relatives she had met in Greci. She wanted to use FedEx instead of the postal service, thinking it would be safer. But no one in the village had ever seen a Fed Ex truck come up their mountain road. They were very worried the package was a bomb.
Sources 1. NewTV video “Saving
5. Interviews with Angino relatives, neighbors, and others: Joan Melville, Michael Angino, Christine Slaats, Paul Murphy, Duffy Brent, Cheryl Holcomb, Vaunita Schnell, Ann Lacy and Rose Anzivino.
6. Taped interview with Rose Angino Mitchell done by Paul Murphy, about 2002.