Historically, Lower Falls was first region of Wellesley settled by European colonists. Given the large drop in the elevation of the Charles River – hence, the name ‘Lower Falls’ — this area became the site of industrial activity as early as the first decade of the 1700s. By the mid-1800s, this village had become one of the largest paper manufacturers in the entire country. By the mid-20th Century, however, most of the factories had closed and Lower Falls began a long period of redevelopment. Today, the area is largely the site of commercial activity and office buildings. There are still, however, a significant number of pre-1900 homes at its western edge near St. John’s Church, as well as on the other side of the Charles River in Newton Lower Falls.