The floodplain of the Sudbury River attracted early colonists from Watertown for common field agriculture along the river meadows. Part of the 1639 Sudbury grant, East Sudbury separated as an independent town in 1780 and changed its name to Wayland in 1835. Bridges over the Sudbury River for the Old Connecticut Path (Route 126) and Boston Post Road (Route 20) kept the community tied to Boston. Bootmaking and shoemaking, especially in Cochituate Village near the border with Natick, provided the major alternative to agriculture. This pattern continued into the early twentieth century, when shoemaking declined rapidly due to national competition, while truck farming continued to serve the Boston markets.
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