Brookline Historical Society

Brookline Historical Society The Brookline Historical Society is a non-profit community organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Brookline's diverse history.

The society's headquarters are located in the heart of Coolidge Corner at the Edward Devotion House, one of Brookline's oldest colonial period structures. The Society also maintains the circa 1780 Widow Harris House as well as the Putterham School located in Larz Anderson Park. Our membership program is active and volunteers are welcome.

Operating as usual

Free walking tour: The Beaconsfield Terraces, Sunday, 10/10, at 10 am.  Register at https://beaconsfieldtour10-10-2021.e...
10/08/2021
Beaconsfield Terraces Walking Tour

Free walking tour: The Beaconsfield Terraces, Sunday, 10/10, at 10 am. Register at https://beaconsfieldtour10-10-2021.eventbrite.com/
The Beaconsfield Terraces, on the south side of Beacon Street from Dean Road to just beyond Tappan Street, were one of the more unusual developments to follow the creation of the Beacon Street boulevard in the 1880s.

The chateaux-like Beaconsfield Terraces near Washington Square, still standing today, provided condominium-like living in the 1890s.

Put on your walking shoes & step into the past: October walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. All tours a...
09/27/2021

Put on your walking shoes & step into the past: October walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. All tours are free. Visit the Historical Society site to register. http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/

Put on your walking shoes & step into the past: October walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. All tours are free. Visit the Historical Society site to register. http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/

The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat ...
04/03/2021

The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. In this recording of our March 21st program William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, talks about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood. Visit http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/ for link to video.

The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. In this recording of our March 21st program William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, talks about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood. Visit http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/ for link to video.

At Home with H. H. RichardsonSpring Program of the Brookline Historical SocietySunday, March 21, 2021, 7:00 PMWhere: Onl...
03/07/2021

At Home with H. H. Richardson
Spring Program of the Brookline Historical Society

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 7:00 PM
Where: Online via Zoom

Registration Required: Online at Zoom registration
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1516150482424/WN_dfGySlQXRvO7LjGNo0Gsxg
The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, will talk about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood.
This is a free and timely program provided by the Brookline Historical Society. To register and reserve a spot, please fill out the online form with your name and email address. We will send you a link to join the program. We look forward to having you join us on Sunday, March 21st.

At Home with H. H. Richardson
Spring Program of the Brookline Historical Society

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 7:00 PM
Where: Online via Zoom

Registration Required: Online at Zoom registration
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1516150482424/WN_dfGySlQXRvO7LjGNo0Gsxg
The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, will talk about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood.
This is a free and timely program provided by the Brookline Historical Society. To register and reserve a spot, please fill out the online form with your name and email address. We will send you a link to join the program. We look forward to having you join us on Sunday, March 21st.

882-888 Commonwealth Avenue in the 1930s, 1981, and 2019. Learn more about this and other former Automobile Row building...
08/18/2019

882-888 Commonwealth Avenue in the 1930s, 1981, and 2019. Learn more about this and other former Automobile Row buildings in Brookline and Boston, Sunday, September 15th, at WBUR CitySpace https://t.co/2YcvASNNfz?amp=1

Have you seen any of these, or others like them, around town? Learn more about cast iron sprinkler alarms in Brookline a...
05/28/2019
Cast Iron Sprinkler Alarms

Have you seen any of these, or others like them, around town? Learn more about cast iron sprinkler alarms in Brookline and beyond. https://bit.ly/sprinkler-alarms

Cast Iron Sprinkler Alarms An Industrial Archaeology Virtual Collection Ken Liss, Brookline Historical Society

Put on your walking shoes & step into the past:Spring walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. Details and f...
05/14/2019

Put on your walking shoes & step into the past:
Spring walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. Details and free registration on our website at http://www.brooklinehistoricalsociety.org

The Historical Society is joining with the Friends of the Beacon Street Bridle Path to present this event looking at the...
05/10/2019

The Historical Society is joining with the Friends of the Beacon Street Bridle Path to present this event looking at the history of Olmsted's Bridle Path (right of way) along the median of Beacon Street and at a bold vision for its restoration and reuse in the 21st century. Monday, May 13th, 7 pm at the Brookline Library.

Public Library of Brookline
05/02/2019

Public Library of Brookline

It is no secret that the weather this week -- and for most of April -- has been gloomy. At least it doesn't compare to when a "small local tornado" uprooted this tree in Griggs Terrace. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday

See this picture and more like it on the Library's Digital Commonwealth collection at https://brklib.com/2UNeJPm

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
05/02/2019

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site

We are pleased to unveil a new temporary exhibit that features the development of the house over time. We hope you can join us this season to see it and take a tour. Opening Day is Saturday, May 18. Please visit our website for additional information: www.nps.gov/jofi

Photo: Ranger Jim affixes the exhibit panels to a wall in the Visitor Center. Credit: NPS.

The Patriots Day recreation of William Dawes' ride has been cancelled due to the weather forecast, but the Brookline His...
04/14/2019

The Patriots Day recreation of William Dawes' ride has been cancelled due to the weather forecast, but the Brookline Historical Society will still have a brief ceremony at 9:30 am at the Edward Devotion House to mark the anniversary of his 1775 ride through Brookline on his way to Lexington.

Last Sunday’s informative and compelling talk by Edmund Barry Gaither about the life and legacy of renowned Brookline ar...
03/29/2019
The Life and Legacy of John Wilson – Brookline Interactive Group

Last Sunday’s informative and compelling talk by Edmund Barry Gaither about the life and legacy of renowned Brookline artist John Wilson is now available online thanks to Brookline Interactive Group. Check it out and be sure to visit Wilson’s recently-installed bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the lobby of Town Hall. https://brooklineinteractive.org/the-life-and-legacy-of-john-wilson/

Brookline Interactive Group 46 Tappan Street (Top Floor) Brookline, MA 02445 [email protected] (617)-731-8566

The Brookline Historical Society will be at Brookline Day at Larz Anderson Park on Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Come see o...
09/21/2018

The Brookline Historical Society will be at Brookline Day at Larz Anderson Park on Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Come see our exhibit featuring eight local men and women who were in the headlines but have largely faded from memory.

Put On Your Walking Shoes & Step Into the Past: Fall Walking Tours Details and free registration on our website150 Years...
09/14/2018
Brookline Historical Society

Put On Your Walking Shoes & Step Into the Past: Fall Walking Tours

Details and free registration on our website

150 Years of Shopping in Coolidge Corner
Sunday, September 30th, 9am -10am

Brookline Village Walking Tour
Sunday, October 7th, 10am -11:30am

The Beaconsfield Terraces: "An Experiment in Domestic Economy"
Sunday, October 21st, 10am -11am

Brookline Historical Society, Brookline, Massachusetts

Many U.S. cities and towns had wooden sidewalks in the 19th century. But it's unlikely that any community had them as lo...
08/29/2018
The Long History of Wooden Sidewalks in Brookline

Many U.S. cities and towns had wooden sidewalks in the 19th century. But it's unlikely that any community had them as long as Brookline, which laid its first plank sidewalk in the 1850s and didn't remove its last one until 1955! http://brooklinehistory.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-long-history-of-wooden-sidewalks-in.html

Mention wooden walkways and most people will probably think of boardwalks along the beach or over wetlands or other fragile environments. So...

A little bit of Brookline crowdsourcing: Do you recognize this location? I'm working on a story about old wooden sidewal...
08/24/2018

A little bit of Brookline crowdsourcing: Do you recognize this location? I'm working on a story about old wooden sidewalks that were once in town. We have lots of older pictures, but can't identify this spot in a photo that appeared in Roads and Streets magazine in October 1942. The building at top right should help, though it may no longer be there. Let me know if you have any ideas.

"This is NOT an EXPRESSWAY." This 1955 photo in the Brookline Chronicle (top) shows a new sign on Route 9 in Chestnut Hi...
08/21/2018

"This is NOT an EXPRESSWAY." This 1955 photo in the Brookline Chronicle (top) shows a new sign on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill. The Google street view below shows the approximate location today.

Here's the story of a now-forgotten local bridge to read about while avoiding the current Comm Ave. bridge construction ...
07/27/2018
Seeing Double? 2 Bridges at Cottage Farm

Here's the story of a now-forgotten local bridge to read about while avoiding the current Comm Ave. bridge construction as much as possible.

The BU Bridge over the Charles River (formerly the Cottage Farm Bridge) is closed to traffic until mid-August this summer while the replacem...

This gorgeous 1930s facade was on a Coolidge Corner storefront that has had many looks and has been home to many restaur...
07/19/2018

This gorgeous 1930s facade was on a Coolidge Corner storefront that has had many looks and has been home to many restaurants over the years. Can you guess where it was & what's there now?

Walking Tour: Blake Park: History of a NeighborhoodSunday, June 17th, 2-3:30 pmIn 1880, banker Arthur Welland Blake enga...
06/10/2018
Blake Park: History of a Neighborhood

Walking Tour: Blake Park: History of a Neighborhood
Sunday, June 17th, 2-3:30 pm
In 1880, banker Arthur Welland Blake engaged Frederick Law Olmsted to draw plans for the subdivision into roads and lots of the Blake family estate on the lower part of Brookline's Aspinwall Hill. Olmsted's plans were never executed, and the estate remained something of an anomaly; a large tract of open land renowned for its landscaping in the heart of a community rapidly developing as a "streetcar suburb". Join Ken Liss from the Brookline Historical Society to learn how the neighborhood of "Blake Park" finally emerged — despite failed plans, untimely deaths, and financial scandal — four decades after it was first conceived.

The free tour begins on the steps of Brookline High School, 115 Greenough Street at 2 pm and will last approximately 90 minutes.

Register at https://blakeparktour.eventbrite.com.

In 1880, banker Arthur Welland Blake engaged Frederick Law Olmsted to draw plans for the subdivision into roads and lots of the Blake family estate on the lower part of Brookline's Aspinwall Hill. Olmsted's plans were never executed, and the estate remained something of an anomaly; a large tract of....

Coolidge Corner Walking Tour: Sunday, June 10th, 9 am to 10 amMeet at Coolidge Corner Inbound T StopCoolidge Corner was ...
06/05/2018
Walking Tour: 150 Years of Shopping in Coolidge Corner

Coolidge Corner Walking Tour: Sunday, June 10th, 9 am to 10 am
Meet at Coolidge Corner Inbound T Stop
Coolidge Corner was home to just one store—Coolidge & Brother—from the 1850s to the 1890s. Following the widening of Beacon Street in 1887-88 and the arrival of the S.S. Pierce store a few years later, a major new shopping district took root. Almost all of the existing buildings in this still thriving commercial area were built between 1890 and 1930. Join Brookline Historical Society President Ken Liss for a journey back to the initial development of the Coolidge Corner business district and get a glimpse of local shopping in the early decades of the 20th Century.

Register (no fee) at https://coolidgecornertour.eventbrite.com.

Address

347 Harvard St
Brookline, MA
02446

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Free walking tour: The Beaconsfield Terraces, Sunday, 10/10, at 10 am. Register at https://beaconsfieldtour10-10-2021.eventbrite.com/ The Beaconsfield Terraces, on the south side of Beacon Street from Dean Road to just beyond Tappan Street, were one of the more unusual developments to follow the creation of the Beacon Street boulevard in the 1880s.
Put on your walking shoes & step into the past: October walking tours from the Brookline Historical Society. All tours are free. Visit the Historical Society site to register. http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/
Is this building at the corner of Harvard and Fuller Streets helping perpetuate a myth about the origin of Coolidge Corner's name? http://brooklinehistory.blogspot.com/2021/05/whats-in-name-coolidge-corner.html
The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. In this recording of our March 21st program William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, talks about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood. Visit http://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org/ for link to video.
At Home with H. H. Richardson Spring Program of the Brookline Historical Society Sunday, March 21, 2021, 7:00 PM Where: Online via Zoom Registration Required: Online at Zoom registration https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1516150482424/WN_dfGySlQXRvO7LjGNo0Gsxg The Brookline home of famous architect H. H. Richardson, along with two noteworthy adjacent properties, is under threat of demolition. William Tyre, the executive director and curator of the Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago, will talk about Richardson, his Brookline years, and the significance of the houses and the Green Hill neighborhood. This is a free and timely program provided by the Brookline Historical Society. To register and reserve a spot, please fill out the online form with your name and email address. We will send you a link to join the program. We look forward to having you join us on Sunday, March 21st.
Why is the residential block, bordered by Aspinwall Ave., Perry St., Francis St., and Toxteth St., nicknamed "DONNY'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANT" ? https://imgur.com/gL1fpDo
I am looking for some help on this photo identification. When was the name Coolidge Corner changed from Coolidge’s Corner? Was there an above ground station 🚉 n Coolidge Corner where this train was housed? Is there anything else you can tell me about this photo?
Watch Historical Society head Ken Liss' conversation with Kathy Bisbee of Brookline Interactive Group about the 1918-19 flu pandemic in Brookline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt7Cnh5Ws-s
Virtual tour: The Beaconsfield Terraces https://bit.ly/beaconsfieldtour
Hi, Brookline historians. If anyone has suggestions on places I can research my house at 181 Walnut St. (was Manka's house until recently, across from Tappan-Philbrick house, bright yellow, behind old Lincoln School) or its first resident, Mary Ann Irving, please tell me. I want to learn more. Thanks. frannyola at gmail dot com .
As Japan closes its schools and we all wait to see how the corona virus (COVID-19) will impact the U.S., here's a look at the impact of the 1918-19 flu pandemic on Brookline. https://t.co/eYWjvguy49?amp=1