Important Allston Brighton Dates
Old Faneuil mansion burns down near Oak Square.
- 1629 Reverend Francis Higginson, agent for
the Massachusetts Bay Company, explored the area known today
- 1630 Land
comprising present day Allston-Brighton and Newton was
assigned to Watertown. Watertown minister George Philip
received the first land grant of 30 acres near the present day
Newton/Brighton boundary line.
- 1633 The
general Court established a ferry between Watertown and the
south side of the Charles River later known as Little
Cambridge. Area residents used this service to travel to
church and to the local seat of government located in Harvard
- 1634 The
Massachusetts Bay Colony transferred ownership of the south
side of the Charles River including present day
Allston-Brighton and Newton from Watertown to Cambridge.
The settlement was known as Little Cambridge.
Cambridge opened up Little Cambridge for land grants to
settlers. Settlers located near fresh water sources and
the lands were used for grazing.
Construction began on the Roxbury Highway (Washington
Street). This road would be one of the first major
routes connecting Cambridge with Boston.
Richard and Susannah Champney settled on a 149 acre tract of
land east of the present day Union Square. Champney
would soon become an elder of the First Church of Cambridge, a
position considered second in prestige only to the minister.
Market and Faneuil Streets were laid out. Market Street
ran along the boundary of the Sparhawk and Dana estates and
converged with the Roxbury Highway (Washington Street) which
was under construction at the time.
Construction of the first Great Bridge connecting Little
Cambridge with Cambridge.
Newton seceded from Cambridge. Little Cambridge became
the only remaining portion of Cambridge south of the Charles
Samuel Willis Pomeroy established his estate, Bellevue, on the
site of what is now St. Gabriel's Monastery and St.
Elizabeth's Hospital. Pomeroy would become a founding
member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the
gardens on his estate were tended in accordance with the most
advanced agricultural principles of the time.
Brighton's first church was moved across Washington
Street. A new church was constructed. The old
church was renovated for the use of the school rooms and Town
Hall offices. The Town Hall would remain in this
building until 1841.
- 1810 The
Brighton-Cambridgeport Bridge opened. The Bridge linked
Cambridge Street in Brighton to Cambridgeport.
- 1817 The
Postal Department established Brighton's first post office.
Brighton's first school committee was elected.
Construction of the Mill Dam Road causeway was built
connecting Brighton with Kenmore Square.
Improvements of the Old River Road - later renamed Western
- 1826 A
stagecoach with two daily runs into Boston was established;
within the next few decades a horse drawn omnibus began making
hourly trips into the city.
Brighton's Eastern public school was established on Cambridge
Street near the intersection of Gordon Street.
Winship Gardens Depot in Brighton was the first stop for the
newly inaugurated Boston & Worcester Railroad. This
was the first passenger train line in the country.
Oak Square's namesake old Oak tree cut down due to age
- 1855 A
new public grammar school was constructed on North Harvard
Street near Western Avenue after a fire destroyed the old
building. Chandler's Pond excavated as an ice pond
Brighton Avenue Baptist Church was built on the site of the
present day Union Square Fire Station.
- 1858 The
Newton Street Railway was constructed. It was a horse
drawn railway connecting Newton and Boston via Washington and
Decline in agriculture; division of farms into residential
- 1864 The
Beacon Park raceway opened on a 50 acre tract of land on the
east side of lower Cambridge Street. In the 1890s, the
Boston and Albany railroad would buy this parcel and convert
it into freight yards.
- 1865 The
Water Works Board purchased a large tract of property and
proposed the construction of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.
Boston & Worcester railroad line became the Boston &
Albany railroad line. A wooden depot named Cambridge
Crossing was built at the corner of Franklin and Cambridge
Streets. The town voted to authorize the establishment
of a second post office. It was decided that the post
office be called Allston after a portrait painter, Washington
Allston, who had spent his life in Cambridge.
Predominance of meatpacking and slaughter yard activities;
municipal mismanagement foreshadows annexation; municipal
facilities growth. Due to public health and safety
concerns, the State ordered that all slaughtering activities
within a six mile radius of the State House be
consolidated into one facility in Brighton to be know as the
Abattoir (French word for slaughteryard).
- 1872 The
Brighton Abattoir was constructed. The State ordered
that the Abattoir be equally accessible to both Brighton and
Watertown. A sixty acre parcel along the Charles River
was chosen (near the present day Soldier's Field Road
Extension). The era of private slaughtering came to an
- 1873 The
Abattoir opened for business. It would eventually become
the country's largest stockyard prior to Mr. Swift's move of
operations to Chicago.
October: Town of Brighton voted to annex itself to the City of
Brighton officially became a neighborhood of the City of
Boston. Holton library built
- 1875 The
Brighton/Newton boundary was redrawn for the purposes of
placing the Chestnut Hill Reservoir solely in Boston.
Newton was compensated with the transfer of approximately 100
acres of prime real estate on Washington Hill.
- 1876 The
Methodist Church was built on the corner of Harvard and
- 1879 The
Allston Grammar School on Cambridge Street near Harvard Avenue
opened. The name was changed in 1893 to the Washington
Transportation networking all through the neighborhood;
electric streetcar made first appearance; streetcar suburbs.
- 1881 The
Brighton Stockyards were moved from Brighton Center to North
Brighton (current site of the Bull World Wide Information
Systems Plant). Construction of St. John's Seminary
commenced. The structure was constructed with Brighton
pudding stone quarried on the site. Eventually the
Plummer and Osborn estates were purchased and added to the
Brighton's first weekly newspaper, the Item, is
established. William Wirt Warren founded the paper and
edited it until his death in 1944. Other periodicals had
made brief appearances prior to the Item: the Mercury, 1851;
the Reporter and the Gem, 1860; the Messenger, 1871, which
survived for five years.
- 1887 The
Boston and Albany railroad replaced the old wooden Allston
December 21, midnight, the first trolley line in Boston ran
from Allston Railroad depot to Park Square. This was the
beginning of what is known today as the Green Line. Two
cars ran from Braintree Street down Harvard Avenue to Coolidge
Corner in Brookline, then along Beacon Street., Massachusetts
Avenue, Boylston Street and into Park Square. The fire
station at 444 Western Avenue was constructed. Allston Power
Station constructed to provide electricity for Beacon Street
Line and Allston-Brighton Branch located on Braintree Street.
- 1890 The
City of Boston purchased a parcel of land owned by Boston City
Councilor Henry B. Goodenough for the location of Brighton's
first municipal park. The park was named Rogers Park in
honor of Allston resident Hiram Rogers, President of the
Boston Board of Aldermen. Infrastructure, open space and
public health issues at the foreground. Slaughter yard
and meatpacking industries in decline. Railroad
- 1892 Fire
station at 16 Harvard Avenue was constructed.
Construction of Commonwealth Avenue began, based on plans of
Frederick Law Olmsted.
- 1893 The
Congregationalist Church built a new church on Quint Avenue.
- 1894 St.
Anthony's Church was established in North Allston. The
14-acre North Brighton Playground was created on Western
Avenue near Harvard Stadium. In 1920, it was renamed William
Francis Smith Playground, in honor of an Allston Marine who
was killed in France during World War I in 1918. Between 1906
and 1916 three more parks were created- the Ringer Playground,
the Chestnut Hill Playground and the Portsmouth Street
Harvard College constructed Carey Cage athletic facility and a
play field on a tract of land in Allston.
Charles River Speedway opened- "Located where the MDC
recreational area on Soldier's Field Road is now, the speedway
was part of a larger recreation park designed by Frederick Law
Olmstead." The ground included not only the speedway but
stables and a clubhouse.
Development of Commonwealth Avenue; cultural and ethnic
diversity develops rapidly.
Harvard Stadium was constructed in Allston. The Hill
Memorial Baptist Church opened on North Harvard Street.
- 1908 St.
Gabriel's Monastery was established on the grounds of the
Bellevue Estate. Damming of Charles River eliminates tidal
Oak Square fire station built
- 1914 St.
Elizabeth's Hospital moved its facilities from the South End
to an eight acre site on Cambridge Street in Brighton.
The Archdiocese of Boston was bequeathed over two million
dollars by theater owner Benjamin F. Keith. Cardinal
O'Connell used the money to create a "Little Rome" of
church-affiliated buildings on the hills of Brighton.
Construction began on the Cenacle Convent on a 17 acre site
facing Lake Street.
Cardinal O'Connell appropriated funds from the Keith estate to
construct the Archbishop's residence on Commonwealth Avenue.
A new municipal courthouse was completed. The Harvard
Business School complex was built across North Harvard Street
from Carey Cage and Harvard Stadium.
The Egyptian Theatre was constructed in Brighton Center.
The theatre was designed to show moving pictures and had a
seating capacity of 1,700 people.
A new Brighton High School was constructed.
Faneuil library built in Oak Square
B'nai Moshe was founded in the Commonwealth Avenue section.
The Leo Birmingham Parkway was constructed.
Ground breaking for the Kennedy Memorial Hospital on Warren
Public housing; post World War II development surge.
Fidelis Way, a 648 unit housing project, was completed.
The Allston Movie Theatre closed.
Boston's first Jewish Community Center opened at 50 Sutherland
Abattoir closed; property was sold for an industrial park, Leo
F. Birmingham Parkway & Soldier's Field Road extension.
The Egyptian Theatre was closed.
The capitol Movie Theatre was demolished.
Weston to Allston segment of the Massachusetts Turnpike was
The Brighton Stockyards were demolished. West End House
Boys Club opens a store-front location on 166 Brighton Avenue
in Allston in order to raise support and seek advice from the
The last homes demolished in the Barry's Corner urban renewal
Oak Sq. School is closed, and three years later in 1983 is turned
into condominiums by the Allston-Brighton Community Development
The Brighton-Allston Community Health Corporation was formed
by a group of concerned citizens to promote and develop a full
range of medical and dental services for residents of Allston
and Brighton on a non-profit basis. Holton library demolished.
West End House Boys Club opens present site on 105 Allston
Street and starts providing much needed services to area
The Allston-Brighton Neighborhood health Center opened at 51
Stadium Way in Charlesview Housing development in Allston.
Jackson/Mann Community School in Union Square was opened and
includes an elementary school, a school for the deaf and has
programs open to community residents.
Washington Allston School on Cambridge Street burned.
The fire station at Union Square was opened.
Fire station at 16 Harvard Avenue ceased to function as a fire
station and was later rehabilitated and converted to offices.
Allston branch library on Harvard Avenue closed. The
Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Center is renamed the Joseph M.
Smith Community Health Center in memory of the late Board
President who had led the effort to establish a community
center. The Oak Square School is designated an official
City landmark, the first in A/B
Harvard Avenue fire station placed on the National Register.
- 1984 St.
Elizabeth's original building was demolished. Coca-Cola
sign was removed from the intersection of Cambridge Street and
Soldier's Field Road.
Renovation of Commonwealth Development completed. This
renovation, started in 1981, was completed at a cost of $35
million. Fire station at 444 Western Avenue placed on
the National register. Veronica B. Smith Multi-Service
Senior Center dedicated.
Commonwealth Development renovations won design awards from
the Boston Society of Architects and the Governor's Design
Harvard Stadium was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Chestnut Hill Reservoir Pumping Station and St. Gabriel's
Monastery designated Boston landmarks. Fire Station at
444 Western Avenue converted to artist studios.
Northeastern University's Henderson Boathouse on the Charles
River was opened. Harvard Business School's Shad Hall
was named the winner of the Harlston Parker Medal by the
Boston Society of Architects. Chestnut Hill reservoir,
gatehouse, pumping station and Cochituate Aqueduct placed on
Genzyme Corporation selects Allston Landing as the site for
its $75 million bio pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and
becomes the first biotechnology firm to construct a facility
- 1992 St.
Margaret's Hospital in Dorchester begins merger with St.
Elizabeth's Hospital; begin construction of an 85,000 square
foot facility on its main campus to accommodate high risk
maternity, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, support, and women's
Construction of the St. Margaret's Center for Women &
Infants is completed. St. Margaret's Hospital in
Dorchester is closed as an inpatient facility and St.
Elizabeth's Hospital of Boston is renamed St. Elizabeth's
Medical Center of Boston to reflect the addition of a high
risk maternity service to its high tech services and is
Allston-Brighton's largest employer.
Allston was granted a Federal Funded Program called Main
Brighton was also granted a Federal Funded Program called Main
Streets. Allston Depot designated a City landmark.
A-Line Track Removal begins along Cambridge Street-Washington
Street-Tremont Street corridor, some thirty years after
streetcar service is discontinued.
Brighton's Chandler's Pond is emptied and dredged.
- 2000 St.
John of God Hospital closes. Allston Village is placed on the
National Register of Historic Districts; Brighton Avenue
reconstruction is completed.
Brighton Center is placed on the National Register of Historic
Places. A new Allston Library opens on North Harvard Street to
architectural acclaim. Brighton Landing high rises are
constructed. Cambridge Street-Washington Street reconstruction
- 2002 A
City of Boston Architectural Conservation District is
established in Brighton's Aberdeen neighborhood, the first
such district in a suburban neighborhood of the city.
Waterworks complex sold after a public process to be turned
into both housing and a museum
2007 Brighton and Allston Bicentennial celebration;
includes creation of the Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum in
the ground level of the Veronica Smith Senior Center
2009 Waterworks Museum opens
2013 Charles River Speedway headquarters designated
City landmark; Beacon Park train yards closed