Important Allston Brighton Dates

 
1629 Reverend Francis Higginson, agent for the Massachusetts Bay Company, explored the area known today as Allston-Brighton.
 
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 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 Cambridge.
 
1635 Cambridge opened up Little Cambridge for land grants to settlers.  Settlers located near fresh water sources and the lands were used for grazing.
 
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 time.
 
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 Cambridgeport.
 
1817 The Postal Department established Brighton's first post office.
 
1820 Brighton's first school committee was elected.
 
1822 Construction of the Mill Dam Road causeway was built connecting Brighton with Kenmore Square.
 
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 Gordon Street.
 
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 Station.
 
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 Cambridge.
 
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 Chicago.
 
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 Hill.
 
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 Seminary's grounds.
 
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 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.  Slaughteryard and meatpacking industries in decline.  Railroad expansion.
 
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 Allston.
 
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 rapidly.
 
1903 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.
 
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 Brighton.
 
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 Stadium.
 
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 people.
 
1930 A new Brighton High School was constructed.
 
1932 B'nai Moshe was founded in the Commonwealth Avenue section.
 
1937 The Leo Birmingham Parkway was constructed.
 
1947 Ground breaking for the Kennedy Memorial Hospital on Warren Street.
 
1950 Public housing; post World War II development surge.
 
1951 Fidelis Way, a 648 unit housing project, was completed.
 
1955 The Allston Movie Theatre closed.
 
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 closed.
 
1962 The capitol Movie Theatre was demolished.
 
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 basis.
 
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 residents.
 
1977 Washington Allston School on Cambridge Street burned.  The fire station at Union Square was opened.
 
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 community center.
 
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 Road.
 
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 largest employer.
 
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 completed.
 
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.

 

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