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Hyde Park


Home > Boston's Neighborhoods > Hyde Park

Learn more about your ancestor's neighborhood through the timeline, find more information in the Further Reading section, or use the links to experience life in that community today.

Timeline

  • 1630: The area known as Hyde Park is referred to as "Tist" by Wampanoag Indians living in the area.
  • 1639: The first major canal in the United States is dug in Dedham. Known as "Mother Brook," it is a diversion canal running between the Charles and Neponset Rivers.
  • 1661-1662: William Sumner and William Robinson, selectmen from Dorchester, lay out the River Road, a route from Dedham to Neponset Mill (today known as Milton Lower Mills).
  • 1668: The first house in Hyde Park is built by Robert Stanton.
  • 1776: General George Washington plans the bombardment of Boston Harbor from Back Street (today Wood Avenue). Dorchester Heights is fortified with trees taken from Hyde Park and Readville.
  • 1786: The First Butler School is constructed. It is renovated in 1790 and again in 1804.
  • 1790: Revolutionary War hero William Sumner (d. 1836) builds a house on River Street.
  • 1801: Edmund Pitt Tileston and Mark Hollingsworth open a paper making factory on Neponset River on the site of Thomas Sumner's old mill.
  • 1814: James Read constructs the original Dedham Manufacturing Company. Over the years, the company is known as the Readville Cotton Mill, Smithfield Manufacturing Company, and B. B. & R. Knight Cotton Mill. It is the largest textile mill in the United States and second oldest behind Slater's Mill of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
  • 1834: The Boston and Providence Railroad (organized in 1831) begins service from Readville to Boston. Readville, a section of the Hyde Park neighborhood, is named for James Read, a Hyde Park cotton mill owner, in 1847. The town chose to honor Read after he paid back his creditors (including accumulated interest) despite the fact that the court had declared his debts void due his business going bankrupt.
  • 1838: Angelina Grimke, who later moves to Hyde Park with her husband Theodore Weld in 1864, becomes the first woman to speak in front of the Massachusetts State Legislature.
  • 1846: The Boston and Providence Railroad extends to Cleary Square.
  • 1847: Multi-millionaire Henry S. Grew (1808-1892) moves to Hyde Park to an 800-acre area known as "Grew's Hill."
  • 1850: The Sumner sisters open Boston's first cut flower market.
  • 1852: Charles H. White purchases 216 acres along the Providence Railroad which forms the nucleus of Hyde Park.
  • 1853: The Hyde Park Land Company begins settlement near West Street, Gordon Avenue in what it then part of Dorchester. The first three settlers are Charles H. White, Gordon Nott, and Henry Lyman.
  • 1855: The Twenty Associates or Fairmount Land Company and Twenty Associates buys land in Milton from Deacon Tucker. They begin the first speculative housing development in the United States on Fairmount Hill. Their leader is 23 year old Alpheus Perley Blake (b. 1832), Hyde Park's founder, and they include: William E. Abbott (merchant tailor), Amos S. Angell (sea captain), Ira L. Benton (blacksmith), Enoch E. Blake (whole fruit merchant), John N. Brown (teacher, fire insurance), George W. Currier (carpenter), Hypolitus C. Fisk (wholesale miller), John C. French (teacher), William E. French (master mason), David Higgins (master builder), John S. Hobbs (lime and cement dealer), Samuel S. Mooney (barber), William H. Nightingale (grocer), J. Wentworth Payson (handwriting master), Dwight B. Rich (real estate, construction), Alphonso J. Robinson (lawyer), William H. Seavey (school principal), Daniel Warren (Massachusetts State senator), John Williams collector for the Boston Gas Light Company).
  • 1856: George Currier's house is the first home built by the Twenty Associates in Fairmount.
  • 1855-66: Warren Hilton uses his fortune made during the California gold rush of 1849 to build 400 houses in Hyde Park.
  • 1857: The Boston and New York Railroad begins service to Fairmount during a fierce winter which raises the Neponset River sweeping away a bridge.
  • 1858: First Baptist Church is organized.
  • 1859: Mrs. J. Wentworth Payson founds the "Fairmount and Hyde Park Lyceum" culture club which later becomes the Wentworth Club in 1884.
  • 1860: Christ Church (Episcopal) is organized by Reverend A.H. Washburn.
  • 1861: The Ebenezer Paul Farm becomes the Camp Meigs training ground for Civil War troops including the Massachusetts 54th Regiment (1863). This all-Black regiment is later involved in a daring attack on Fort Wagner, South Carolina that is featured in the movie Glory. The camp becomes a hospital in 1864.
  • 1863: The First Congregational Church is organized.
  • 1864: Benjamin Radford (1827-1894) moves to town and convinces the American Tool and Machine Company to move its foundry to Hyde Park (1872) which ends up employing many of the area's workers.
  • 1866: Zenas Allen (1777-1866), a member of the first board of selectmen (1868) moves to town.
  • 1867: The Hyde Park Unitarian Church is founded.
  • 1868: Hyde Park is incorporated. The town is made up of lands obtained from Dorchester, Milton, and Dedham. The town is named after Hyde Park in London. Henry Grew becomes the chairman of the first board of selectmen.
  • 1869: Writer Sylvanus Cobb (1823-1887) comes to town, acting as moderator of the town meeting where Hyde Park women are first women in America allowed to vote (1870).
  • 1870: The Town Hall is moved into Hyde Park on wagons from Boston.
  • 1871: The Glover and Willcomb factory is founded and is the largest curled hair factory in the United States by 1888.
  • 1872-3: Three schools are built in town: The Henry Grew, The Fairmount, and the Elihu Greenwood.
  • 1874: John Gately arrives from England and becomes a squatter on Henry S. Grew's property. Known as the "Hermit of Sally's Rock," Gately is eventually given an old shed from Grew which was listed as "The Hermitage" on many of the old maps of Grew's land.
  • 1876: The Hyde Park Chorus Club sends 100 singers to the Peace Jubilee in Boston to commemorate the end of the Civil War.
  • 1880: The Clarendon Congregational Church is established.
  • 1882: Joseph Hamblin founds The Hyde Park Company.
  • 1883: The Hyde Park Times newspaper is established.
  • 1884: William Ellery Channing is president of the newly established Hyde Park Horticultural Society.
  • 1885: The Most Precious Blood Church is dedicated on the corner of Maple and Oak Streets. The congregation was originally organized as the Church of the Epiphany of the Redeemer in 1870.
  • 1886: The Hyde Park Cooperative Bank opens.
  • 1887: The Hyde Park Historical Society is organized.
  • 1888: The first electric street lights are turned on in town.
  • 1889: The Blue Hill Community Evangelical Society (today Blue Hill Community Church) is formed.
  • 1891: The first Hyde Park high school magazine, The High School Register, is published.
  • 1893: The Hazelwood Universalist Church opens.
  • 1894: Opening of Christ Church (Episcopal). It is designed by Ralph Adams Cram.
  • 1897: Mary H. Hunt is elected the first vice-president of the International Conference Against Alcoholism in Brussels, Belgium.
  • 1898: The Hyde Park Library is built on the corner of Harvard and Winthrop.
  • 1899: Cleary Square is named for John Augustus Cleary, a local boy who dies in the Battle of Santiago during the Spanish American War. His remains are in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • 1900: On her 90th birthday, Mehitable Sunderland gives the people of Hyde Park a tapestry she had woven called, "Isaac and Rebecca on Their Return to Abraham and Sarah."
  • 1901: The B.F. Sturtevant Company begins manufacturing heating and ventilating equipment.
  • 1904: Hyde Park Telephone Company building is constructed.
  • 1909: The Dana Avenue Bridge is constructed over the Neponset River. It is the earliest surviving example of a reinforced concrete arch in Boston.
  • 1912: Hyde Park is annexed to Boston.
  • 1913-14: The Hyde Park section of the Neponset River is dredged.
  • 1919-1925: Immigrants from Russia and the Ukraine arrive in town.
  • 1920: The Franklin Foundry is established and makes iron, semi-steel, and brass.
  • 1921: Saint Anne's Church, under Father David Regan, opens.
  • 1923: John Simson opens a wool waste reprocessing company called the Garnetting Company.
  • 1925: The South Boston Condit Electrical Manufacturing Company opens forms and later becomes the Allis-Chalmers Company in 1936.
  • 1926: Bay State Upholstery Company opens on Business Street and soon has hundreds of workers.
  • 1928: The present Hyde Park High School is completed on Metropolitan and Central Avenues.
  • 1931: The L. E. Mason Company makes bronze, silver, and gold castings.
  • 1935: The M. S. Dress Company begins producing women's dresses.
  • 1939: The National Wadding Company is one of only three plants in America that makes wool wadding.
  • 1945-1950: Corriganville on Huntington Avenue is a housing project for veterans of World War II. In addition, new houses are built on Grew's Hill and the Rugby section along Truman Highway and River Street.
  • 1950-1959: New schools are constructed to replace Fairmount, Elihu Greenwood, and Henry Grew. In addition, the Franklin Roosevelt School is built for veterans' children in Corriganville.
  • 1956: Saint Joseph's Church is dedicated by Richard Cardinal Cushing.
  • 1962: Hyde Park celebrates its 50th anniversary as part of Boston.
  • 1969: The Hyde Park High School Alumni Association is formed.
  • 1970s -1980s: African-American families move into Hyde Park, as the neighborhood becomes more integrated racially.
  • 1970: The Hyde Park Historical Society regroups and adds new officers and members.
  • 1973: Many families with young children move out of town or send their kids to private school in response to the Court-ordered busing for Boston Public Schools. Hyde park High is a site of racial strife in 1974 and 1975.
  • 1987: The Hyde Park Historical Society celebrates 100 years. Twenty-five books about the history of Hyde Park are published.
  • 1993: Thomas M. Menino is the first Hyde Park resident and first person of Italian descent elected Mayor of Boston.

Further Reading

  • Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Hyde Park. Images of America Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 1996.
  • Hannan, Nancy. Compendium of Hyde Park History, Vol. I-III. Hyde Park: Albert House Publishing.

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