Located in Norfolk County, the Boston suburb of Needham was settled in 1680 and incorporated in 1711. Over the town’s extensive history, Needham has been home to a slew of notable figures involved in a wide spread of areas such as academia, acting, the arts, business, music, sports, television, and literature. A handful of these people include the art historian, philosopher, Indologist Ananda Coomaraswamy, virologist and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Huckle Weller, actor Harold Russell, Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor, CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Charlie Baker, writer of All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth Donald Yetter Gardener, US Olympic figure skater Rachel Mayer, offensive line in the NFL Dave Cadigan, and writer for The Office Lee Eisenber. Bordering Needham is the Charles River and also the residential communities of Wellesley, Newton, Dedham, Dover, Westwood, and West Roxbury.
In Needham’s early years, it was originally a part of Dedham but soon split off to be named after the English village of Needham Market. Later in the 19th century when Boston conducted most of its expansion projects, the filling material used for what is now Back Bay came from Needham. In 1881, Needham lost its town hall of West Parish to Wellesley. Around a year later, Wellesley and Needham began what would soon become an annual tradition of a football game between the two towns and which continues today. Moving into the 20th century, Needham grew by over fifty percent and was established as a bedroom community with most of its residents working in Boston. Within the town itself, there were a few thriving industries that started such as a Coca Cola factory, which began in 1986.
Outside of Needham’s economic pursuits, the town is fortunate for its local outdoor sites. Some of these spaces include Cutler Park, Green Field, Glover Meadows, Needham Golf Course, Rebecca Perry Park, and the nearby High Rock Town forest. Needham has a variety of academic centers such as Needham High School, Pollard Middle School, High Rock School, Broadmeadow School, Eliot School, Hillside School, Mitchell School, and Newman School. Needham can be reached by way of I-95, Routes 128 and 135, and as well as by the MBTA commuter rail.