Home > Boston's Neighborhoods
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
- 1620s: Prior to the first English settlements, the Dedham Post Road is an
important Native American highway. Notable historical
figures such as Narragansett Chief Miantonime, King
John of the Nipmucks, and Chief Matoomis travel the
road. Later, the Minutemen race along the Dedham road
to take part in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Today,
the road is called Centre Street.
- 1662: South Street is laid out.
- 1683: The Westerly Burial Ground on Centre Street is constructed.
- 1711: Roslindale residents build a meetinghouse on Walter Street
(today the site of this defunct house is located in
the Arnold Arboretum) to avoid having to travel to
the meetinghouse in John Eliot Square, Roxbury. There,
they also establish the Walter Street Burial Ground.
- 1712: The congregation is recognized by the Massachusetts Bay
government as the Second Church of Roxbury on land
given by Joseph Weld. The first pastor is Ebenezer
- 1725: The Chamberlain House on Poplar Street is constructed and
today is the oldest house in town.
- 1804: Washington Street is built.
- 1806: Captain John Weld sells his farm to Benjamin Bussey who
builds a mansion there in 1818. Later, the house is
given to Harvard and today is part of the Arnold Arboretum.
- 1825: Poplar Street is laid out.
- 1834: The Boston and Providence Railroad comes through the neighborhood.
- 1841: Unitarian minister George Ripley founds a Transcendentalist
utopian community called the Brook Farm Institute
of Agriculture and Education on Baker Street. Transcendentalism
influenced local Boston writers Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1849,
Brook Farm is purchased by the town and made into
a poor house. Later, it becomes home to the Evangelical
Lutheran Church and Gethsemane Cemetery in 1873.
- 1847: Brown Avenue is laid out.
- 1848: The Boston and Providence Railroad creates a stop in West
Roxbury that facilitates population growth.
- 1851: West Roxbury is incorporated including Roslindale.
- 1852: Mount Hope Cemetery is created and filled with beautiful
gardens and fountains.
- 1870: Roslindale is called "South Street District"
and "South Street Crossing." The name is
later changed to "Roslindale" . Roslindale
is named after Roslyn, Scotland (the "dale"
suffix refers to the fact that the neighborhood is
surrounded by hills) as suggested by Roslindale resident
and world traveler John Pierce.
- 1872: The Arnold Arboretum
is founded in Roslindale and Jamaica Plain. Designed
by its first director, Charles Sprague Sargent with
help from Frederick Law Olmsted, the 265-acre
horticultural research and educational institution
is named after its benefactor James Arnold. The Arboretum
is part of Olmsted's sprawling Emerald Necklace. The
grounds include a library, herbarium, and trees and
plants from around the world.
- 1873: West Roxbury and Roslindale become part of Boston.
- 1874: The Bethany Methodist Church is built on Ashland Street
(now Cummins Highway).
- 1880s: The extension of horse drawn cars and then streetcars
to Roslindale Square urbanizes this previously rural
- 1885: The Church of Our Savior founded by Reverend Archibald
- 1887: Nine cars with 300 passengers hurtles into a 74-foot chasm
when the Bussey Bridge on South Street and Archdale
Road collapses. An enormous amount of spectators come
to town to see the wreck and find the town so beautiful
that they decide to stay and settle here.
- 1888: Ridge Street laid out.
- 1889: The Roslindale Baptist Church built on Ashland Street.
- 1892: The Roslindale Unitarian Church is built using a design
by Edwin J. Lewis (1859-1937).
- 1893: The Sacred Heart Church is the first Roman Catholic church
built on Cummings Highway and Brown Avenue. The first
pastor is Reverend John Cummins.
- 1895: South Fairview Street laid out.
- 1898: The Roslindale Branch of
the Boston Public Library opens.
- 1911: The Roslindale Woman's Club is founded.
- 1918: Irving W. Adams (1893-1918), of South Street, is the first
Massachusetts man killed in action during World War
I in a battle at Rambucourt, France on February 9th.
- 1920s: The American Legion Highway cuts through town.
- 1941-1945: The citizens of Roslindale raise $250,000 to buy a
B-25 bomber, Spirit of Roslindale, which they
donate to the military for use in World War II.
Roslindale becomes an area to which Christian Lebanese
immigrants come to live during the Lebanese Civil
Roslindale High School is closed. Students are sent
to a new West Roxbury High School. The old high school
building is recycled for housing.
Then District City Councilor Thomas Menino helps Roslindale
Square to become a model as part of national program
call "Main Streets." The effort brings small businesses
back to the Square after abandonment in the early
1980s. Menino is elected Boston Mayor in 1993 He expands
the program to other neighborhoods using Roslindale
Square as the model.
- Roslindale Historical Society
Cathy Slade, President
131 Rowe Street
Roslindale, MA 02131
- Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Roslindale. Images of America Series.
Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1997.
- Roslindale. The Boston 200 Neighborhood History Series. Boston:
Boston 200 Corporation, 1976.