Important Allston Brighton
Reverend Francis Higginson, agent for the Massachusetts Bay
Company, explored the area known today as
- 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
- 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 Square.
- 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
- 1635 Cambridge opened up Little
Cambridge for land grants to settlers. Settlers located near
fresh water sources and the lands were used for
- 1638 Construction began on the Roxbury
Highway (Washington Street). This road would be one of the
first major routes connecting Cambridge with Boston.
- 1647 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.
- 1656 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
- 1662 Construction of the first Great
Bridge connecting Little Cambridge with Cambridge.
- 1688 Newton seceded from
Cambridge. Little Cambridge became the only remaining
portion of Cambridge south of the Charles River.
- 1777 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.
- 1807 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
- 1817 The Postal Department established
Brighton's first post office.
- 1820 Brighton's first school committee
- 1822 Construction of the Mill Dam Road
causeway was built connecting Brighton with Kenmore
- 1825 Improvements of the Old River Road
- later renamed Western Avenue.
- 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.
- 1832 Brighton's Eastern public school
was established on Cambridge Street near the intersection of
- 1834 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.
- 1855 A new public grammar school was
constructed on North Harvard Street near Western Avenue after a
fire destroyed the old building.
- 1857 Brighton Avenue Baptist Church was
built on the site of the present day Union Square Fire
- 1858 The Newton Street Railway was
constructed. It was a horse drawn railway connecting Newton
and Boston via Washington and Cambridge Streets.
- 1860 Decline in agriculture; division
of farms into residential building lots.
- 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.
- 1868 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
- 1870 Predominance of meatpacking and
slaughteryard 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 end.
- 1873 The Abattoir opened for
business. It would eventually become the country's largest
stockyard prior to Mr. Swift's move of operations to
- 1873 October: Town of Brighton voted to
annex itself to the City of Boston.
- 1874 January: Brighton officially
became a neighborhood of the City of Boston.
- 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
- 1876 The Methodist Church was built on
the corner of Harvard and Farrington Streets.
- 1879 The Allston Grammar School on
Cambridge Street near Harvard Avenue opened. The name was
changed in 1893 to the Washington Allston School.
- 1880 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 puddingstone quarried on the site. Eventually
the Plummer and Osborn estates were purchased and added to the
- 1885 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 Depot.
- 1888 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
- 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.
Slaughteryard and meatpacking industries in decline.
- 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 William E. Smith
Playground opened. Between 1906 and 1916 three more parks
were created- the Ringer Playground, the Chestnut Hill Playground
and the Portsmouth Street Playground.
- 1897 Harvard College constructed Carey
Cage athletic facility and a play field on a tract of land in
- 1899 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.
- 1900 Development of Commonwealth
Avenue; cultural and ethnic diversity develops
- 1903 Harvard Stadium was constructed in
Allston. The Hill Memorial Baptist Church opened on North
- 1908 St. Gabriel's Monastery was
established on the grounds of the Bellevue Estate.
- 1914 St. Elizabeth's Hospital moved its
facilities from the South End to an eight acre site on Cambridge
Street in Brighton.
- 1918 The Archdiocese of Boston was
bequeathed over two million dollars by theatre owner Benjamin F.
Keith. Cardinal O'Connell used the money to create a "Little
Rome" of church-affiliated buildings on the hills of
- 1922 Construction began on the Cenacle
Convent on a 17 acre site facing Lake Street.
- 1926 Cardinal O'Connell appropriated
funds from the Keith estate to construct the Archbishop's
residence on Commonwealth Avenue.
- 1927 A new municipal courthouse was
completed. The Harvard Business School complex was built
across North Harvard Street from Carey Cage and Harvard
- 1929 The Egyptian Theatre was
constructed in Brighton Center. The theatre was designed to
show moving pictures and had a seating capacity of 1,700
- 1930 A new Brighton High School was
- 1932 B'nai Moshe was founded in the
Commonwealth Avenue section.
- 1937 The Leo Birmingham Parkway was
- 1947 Ground breaking for the Kennedy
Memorial Hospital on Warren Street.
- 1950 Public housing; post World War II
- 1951 Fidelis Way, a 648 unit housing
project, was completed.
- 1955 The Allston Movie Theatre
- 1956 Boston's first Jewish Community
Center opened at 50 Sutherland Road.
- 1957 Abattoir closed; property was sold
for an industrial park, Leo F. Birmingham Parkway & Soldier's
Field Road extension.
- 1959 The Egyptian Theatre was
- 1962 The capitol Movie Theatre was
- 1964 Weston to Allston segment of the
Massachusetts Turnpike was opened.
- 1967 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 neighborhood.
- 1968 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
- 1971 West End House Boys Club opens
present site on 105 Allston Street and starts providing much
needed services to area youth.
- 1974 The Allston-Brighton Neighborhood
health Center opened at 51 Stadium Way in Charlesview Housing
development in Allston.
- 1976 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
- 1977 Washington Allston School on
Cambridge Street burned. The fire station at Union Square
- 1978 Fire station at 16 Harvard Avenue
ceased to function as a fire station and was later rehabilitated
and converted to offices.
- 1979 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
- 1983 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
- 1985 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.
- 1986 Commonwealth Development
renovations won design awards from the Boston Society of
Architects and the Governor's Design Award.
- 1987 Harvard Stadium was designated a
National Historic Landmark.
- 1989 Chestnut Hill Reservoir Pumping
Station designated a Boston landmark. Fire Station at 444
Western Avenue converted to artist studios.
- 1990 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 National Register.
- 1991 Genzyme Corporation selects
Allston Landing as the site for its $75 million biopharmaceutical
manufacturing plant and becomes the first biotechnology firm to
construct a facility in Boston.
- 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 health services.
- 1993 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
- 1996 Allston was granted a Federal
Funded Program called Main Streets.
- 1997 Brighton was also granted a
Federal Funded Program called Main Streets.
- 1998 A-Line Track Removal begins along
Cambridge Street-Washington Street-Tremont Street corridor, some
thirty years after streetcar service is discontinued.
- 1999 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
- 2001 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 is completed.
- 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.