As the number of residents, homes, and businesses multiplied in and around Boston,
a vigorous culture emerged that, to various degrees, knitted city dwellers to one another and
the places where they lived. In the introduction to his history of the Boston
the first public and municipal buildings. The first meetinghouse for public worship (the
parish boundaries were identical to the town boundaries) was erected in 1714 in what is
known today as the Brookline Village area. The appointment of a minister meant
machines by building garages to house them. In time, the automobile would contribute to the
demise of the big city and its urbanist culture.
The chapter then investigates the major elements of early twentieth-century urbanist
culture in and around Brookli
but significant group of wealthy Boston merchants purchased large estates, primarily in the
southern and far northern sections of the town. At first these merchants and their
households resided in Brookline only in the summer, but by 1840 some had made th
within reasonable distance of the avenue to enjoy its blessings in going to and from
their business. There are hundreds and thousands of men who will dwell within this
region within the next thirty years, whether this avenue is built or not, for whom the
acquaintance, probably Charles J. Kickham, sent the newly engaged couple a note
ocongratulations during the summer of 1914.
Beals Street History and Profile
Although the street where the Kennedys moved was unassuming looking, it had a long
manufacturing was the Brookline Gas Company, established in the early 1850s at the corner
of Brookline Avenue (then Western Avenue) and Washington Street, at the eastern edge of
Brookline Village. The Brookline Gas Works supplied street lighting and resid
As the century progressed and turned into the twentieth century, there were increasing
signs of an Irish-Catholic middle class presence. Some Irish rose into the ranks of the Brookline
middle and upper-middle-classes. Among them, presumably, was Thomas B.
development syndicate; Whitney transferred nearly 4 million square feet of holdings to the
Also in the fall of 1886, Whitney, along with other businessmen, some of whom had
also participated in helping to form the West End Land Company, founde
myriad of religious and secular voluntary associations that linked urban dwellers to one
another and to the neighborhoods and cities in which they lived. Over the course of the
twentieth century, however, the automobile, highways, and increasing affluence
estates offered ample opportunities for unskilled and working class people. This movement
of Irish immigrants to Brookline was quite similar to the arrival in the adjacent community
of Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood that was originally a part of Roxbury, t
later apparently noted with wedding gifts received), birth announcements for Joseph Junior,
Cecilian Guild 1922 dance program, a 1923 menu from the Poland Springs Mansion House, birth
announcements for Jean in 1928; condolence letters upon death of Rose K
used were Griffith Morgan Hopkins Atlas of the Town of Brookline, 1874 and George
Washington Bromleys Brookline Town Atlases, 1874 to 1927.
Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston
Most documents pertaining to the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families in the Archd
A History of Brookline, Massachusetts, From the First Settlement of Muddy River Until the
Present Time, 1630-1906, Brookline, MA: Brookline Press Company, 1906.
Ames, Kenneth L. Death in the Dining Room and Other Tales of Victorian Culture.
Curtis, John Gould. History of the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston and New
York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1933.
Dudden, Faye E. Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America.
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1983.
Hodson, Janice. Report on Status of Collections, John F. Kennedy National Historic Site,
February 2003 draft.
Holleran, Michael. Bostons Changeful Times- Origins of Preservation and Planning in
America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Leamer, Laurence. The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family. New York:
Villard Books, 1994.
Lord, Robert Howard. History of the Archdiocese of Boston in the Various Stages of
ItsDevelopment, 1604 to 1943. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1944.
Home, Hometown, and Urbanism: Brookline,
Coolidge Corner, and the Neighborhood
When she created a memorial to John F. Kennedy at 83 Beals Street, Brookline,
Massachusetts, Rose Kennedy hoped it would impart both the early family l
Reed, Roger and Greer Hardwicke, Study Report on the Establishment of St. Aidans Church
Local Historic District, Brookline, Massachusetts. Internet version: http:/www.eviews.net/StAidans/PresComnReport.html.
Ryan, Mary P. Cradle of the Middle Class: The F
A case in point is the former Griggs property along Beacon Street between Center
Street and Lancaster Terrace. The land had a long history. In 1638 George Griggs received
a 28-acre land grant, which was handed down to family members for the next two centu
dense array of single and multiple-family residences, apartment buildings, and commercial
businesses of all kinds presented what one writer in 1906 termed a citified appearance.
A second area at the junction of several major old highways (now Route 9,
generations of country of origin from the census. This means that third-generation
Americans such as Joseph and Rose Kennedy, both of whom were born in the United States
and whose parents were also born here, were too far removed from their familys countr
a large category that included anyone who worked as a domestic, or in the building trades,
in the food industry, including tailors and upholsterers, barbers, and shoemakers, among
many others. The vast majority of inhabitants assigned to this category wer
$6,500 the couple had paid for the Beals Street house six years before.40 (See fig. 12, 1927
Although an older structure than the house at 83 Beals, the Abbottsford Road home was
built on a larger scale, reminiscent of Roses girlhood home on Welle
Abbottsford-Naples Roads Wage Earners, by Occupational Groups, 1920
* Wage earners profession was considered unknown if income was listed as own
Automobility in Brookline
The rage for the automobile that swept across the United States in the early
twentieth century gave the town of Brookline a new status symbol and changed its
landscape as well. The first registration of automobiles in Massachuset
that some of their neighbors also owned automobiles, as Krim discovered several double
garages on Beals Street that date from the early 1920s. In 1921, a year in which more than
100 garages appeared in the Coolidge Corner area, Pearl Landers had a double
The house at 51 Abbottsford Road (referred to interchangeably in the research
sources also as 131 Naples Road), where the Kennedys moved, also had a relatively early
garage. In 1910 a previous owner, Charles Osgood, who drove a Pullman automobile, had
Non-Domestic Wage-Earners on Abbottsford-Naples Roads, by Birthplace, 1920
Total New England: 18 (58 %)
25 (81 %)
6 (19 %)
Domestic Wage Earners on Beals And Stedman Streets, by Birthplace, 1910 and 1920
Other New England