Brookline /ˈbrʊklaɪn/ is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, in the United States, and is a part of Greater Boston. Brookline borders six of Boston's neighborhoods: Brighton, Allston, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury. The city of Newton lies to the west of Brookline.
At the 2010 census, the population of the town was 58,732. It is the most populous municipality in Massachusetts to have a town (rather than city) form of government.
Brookline was first settled in 1638 as a hamlet in Boston, but was incorporated as a separate town in 1705.
Location as an exclave of Norfolk County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
|• Total||6.8 sq mi (17.7 km2)|
|• Land||6.8 sq mi (17.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||50 ft (15 m)|
|• Density||8,637.0/sq mi (3,337.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||617 / 857|
|GNIS feature ID||0619456|
Once part of Algonquian territory, Brookline was first settled by European colonists in the early 17th century. The area was an outlying part of the colonial settlement of Boston and known as the hamlet of Muddy River. In 1705, it was incorporated as the independent town of Brookline. The northern and southern borders of the town were marked by two small rivers or brooks, hence the name. The northern border with Brighton (which was itself part of Cambridge until 1807) was Smelt Brook. (That name appears on maps starting at least as early as 1852, but sometime between 1888 and 1925 the brook was covered over.) The southern boundary, abutting Boston, was the Muddy River.
The Town of Brighton was merged with Boston in 1874, and the Boston-Brookline border was redrawn to connect the new Back Bay neighborhood with Allston-Brighton. This merger created a narrow strip of land along the Charles River belonging to Boston, cutting Brookline off from the shoreline. It also put certain lands north of the Muddy River on the Boston side, including what are now Kenmore Square and Packard's Corner. The current northern border follows Commonwealth Avenue, and on the northeast, St. Mary's Street. When Frederick Law Olmsted designed the Emerald Necklace of parks and parkways for Boston in the 1890s, the Muddy River was integrated into the Riverway and Olmsted Park, creating parkland accessible by both Boston and Brookline residents.
Throughout its history, Brookline has resisted being annexed by Boston, in particular during the Boston–Brookline annexation debate of 1873. The neighboring towns of West Roxbury and Hyde Park connected Brookline to the rest of Norfolk County until they were annexed by Boston in 1874 and 1912, respectively, putting them in Suffolk County. Brookline is now separated from the remainder of Norfolk County.
Brookline has long been regarded as a pleasant and verdant environment. In the 1841 edition of the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Andrew Jackson Downing described the area this way:
The whole of this neighborhood of Brookline is a kind of landscape garden, and there is nothing in America of the sort, so inexpressibly charming as the lanes which lead from one cottage, or villa, to another. No animals are allowed to run at large, and the open gates, with tempting vistas and glimpses under the pendent boughs, give it quite an Arcadian air of rural freedom and enjoyment. These lanes are clothed with a profusion of trees and wild shrubbery, often almost to the carriage tracks, and curve and wind about, in a manner quite bewildering to the stranger who attempts to thread them alone; and there are more hints here for the lover of the picturesque in lanes than we ever saw assembled together in so small a compass.
Brookline residents were among the first in the country to propose extending the vote to women. Benjamin F. Butler, in his 1882 campaign for Governor, advocated the idea.
Two branches of upper Boston Post Road, established in the 1670s, passed through Brookline. Brookline Village was the original center of retail activity. In 1810, the Boston and Worcester Turnpike, now Massachusetts Route 9, was laid out, starting on Huntington Avenue in Boston and passing through the village center on its way west.
Steam railroads came to Brookline in the middle of the 19th century. The Boston and Worcester Railroad was constructed in the early 1830s, and passed through Brookline near the Charles River. The rail line is still in active use, now paralleled by the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Highland Branch of the Boston and Albany Railroad was built from Kenmore Square to Brookline Village in 1847, and was extended into Newton in 1852. In the late 1950s, this would become the Green Line "D" Branch.
The portion of Beacon Street west of Kenmore Square was laid out in 1850. Streetcar tracks were laid above ground on Beacon Street in 1888, from Coolidge Corner to Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, via Kenmore Square. In 1889, they were electrified and extended over the Brighton border at Cleveland Circle. They would eventually become the Green Line "C" Branch.
Thanks to the Boston Elevated Railway system, this upgrade from horse-drawn carriage to electric trolleys occurred on many major streets all over the region, and made transportation into downtown Boston faster and cheaper. Much of Brookline was developed into a streetcar suburb, with large brick apartment buildings sprouting up along the new streetcar lines.
Brookline was known as the hamlet of Muddy River and was considered part of Boston until the Town of Brookline was independently incorporated in 1705. (The Muddy River was used as the Brookline–Boston border at incorporation.) It is said that the name derives from a farm therein once owned by Judge Samuel Sewall.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Brookline has a total area of 6.8 sq mi (17.7 km2), all but 0.039 sq mi (0.1 km2) (0.44%) of which is land.
The northern part of Brookline, roughly north of the D-line tracks, is urban in character, as highly walkable and transit rich. The population density of this part of town is nearly 20,000 inhabitants per square mile (8,000/km2), on a par with the densest neighborhoods in nearby Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea, Massachusetts (the densest cities in New England), and just below that of central Boston's residential districts (Back Bay, South End, Fenway, etc.). The overall density of Brookline, which also includes suburban districts and grand estates south of the D-line, is still higher than that of many of the largest cities in the United States, especially in the South and West. Brookline borders Newton (part of Middlesex County) to the west and Boston (part of Suffolk County) in all other directions; it is therefore non-contiguous with any other part of Norfolk County. Brookline became an exclave in 1873, when the neighboring town of West Roxbury was annexed by Boston (and left Norfolk County to join Suffolk County), and Brookline refused to be annexed by Boston after the Boston–Brookline annexation debate of 1873.
Brookline separates the bulk of the city of Boston (except for a narrow neck or corridor near the Charles River) from its westernmost neighborhoods of Allston–Brighton, which had been the separate town of Brighton until annexed by Boston in 1873.
Neighborhoods, squares, & notable areas of Brookline include:
As of the census of 2010, there were 58,732 people, 24,891 households, and 12,233 families residing in the town. The population density was 8,701.0 people per square mile (3,247.3/km²). There were 26,448 housing units at an average density of 3,889.6 per square mile (1,501.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 73.3% White, 3.4% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 15.6% Asian (6.7% Chinese, 2.6% Indian, 2.3% Korean, 1.8% Japanese), 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population (0.9% Mexican, 0.8% Puerto Rican). (Source: 2010 Census Quickfacts)
There were 25,594 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18, living with them, 38.4% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.2% were non-families. 36.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the town, the population was spread out with 16.6% under the age of 18, 11.7%, from 18 to 24, 37.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $66,711, and the median income for a family was $92,993. Males had a median income of $56,861 versus $43,436 for females. The per capita income for the town was $44,327. About 4.5% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under the age of 18 and 7.5% of those ages 65 and older.
Serving as a residential zone for nearby academic and medical institutes such as Harvard Medical School and Boston University, the town of Brookline was reported as the city with the most doctoral degree holders (14.0% of the total population) in the United States.
The following historic buildings are open to the public:
Other historic and cultural sites include:
In 2017, a Brookline Town Meeting voted to recognize Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day. 
The town is served by the Public Schools of Brookline. The student body at Brookline High School includes students from more than 50 countries. Many students attend Brookline High from surrounding neighborhoods in Boston such as Mission Hill and Mattapan through the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) system.
There are eight elementary schools in the Brookline Public School system: Baker School, Coolidge Corner School, Driscoll, Heath, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pierce, and Runkle. As of December 2006, there were 6,089 K-12 students enrolled in the Brookline public schools. The system includes one early learning center, eight grades K-8 schools, and one comprehensive high school. The Old Lincoln School is a surplus building used by the town to temporarily teach students in when another school building is being renovated. It was rented in 2009 as the venue for the play Sleep No More.
The student body is 57.4% White, 18.1% Asian, 6.4% Black, 9.9% Hispanic, and 8.2% Multi-race. Approximately 30% of students come from homes where English is not the first language. (Data from Massachusetts department of education 2012–2013 Year)
Several private primary and secondary schools are located in Brookline.
Several institutes of higher education are located in Brookline.
Brookline is served by the C and D branches of the MBTA's Green Line trains, with inbound service to downtown Boston and outbound service to Newton. The B line runs along the town's northern border of Commonwealth Avenue in Allston.
Brookline is served by several MBTA bus routes.
The town of Brookline is protected full-time by the 158 paid, professional firefighters of the Brookline Fire Department (BFD). It currently operates out of five fire stations located throughout the town, under the command of a Deputy Chief per shift. The BFD also operates a fire apparatus fleet of four engines, two ladders, one quint, one cross-staffed rescue (special operations), two squads, one special operations unit, one decontamination trailer, two maintenance units, as well as numerous other special, support, and reserve units. The Brookline Fire Department responds to approximately 6,500 emergency calls annually. The current Chief of Department is John F. Sullivan.
Brookline is twinned with:
The name of Brookline came, as the late Rev. Samuel Sewall (great grandson of Judge Samuel Sewall) conjectures, from one of the farms within its bounds, namely the Gates' farm, hired of Judge Sewall, which was probably called Brookline because Smelt-brook, running through it, formed the line between that and one of the neighboring farms, and this brook also separated that farm from Cambridge. Judge Sewall, in his journal, often mentions the name "Brookline" before the town was incorporated. Rev. Mr. S. also thinks it was Judge Sewall that suggested that name for the town.
The 1988 U.S. Open was the 88th U.S. Open, held June 16–20 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb southwest of Boston. Curtis Strange defeated Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff for the first of two consecutive U.S. Open titles.Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Chestnut Hill is a New England village located six miles (9.7 km) west of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Like all Massachusetts villages, Chestnut Hill is not an incorporated municipal entity. Unlike most Massachusetts villages, it encompasses parts of three separate municipalities, each located in a different county: the town of Brookline in Norfolk County; the city of Boston in Suffolk County (parts of its neighborhoods of Brighton and West Roxbury), and the city of Newton in Middlesex County. Chestnut Hill's borders are roughly defined by the 02467 ZIP Code. Chestnut Hill is not a topographical designation; the name refers to several small hills that overlook the 135-acre (546,000 m2) Chestnut Hill Reservoir rather than one particular hill. Chestnut Hill is best known as the home of Boston College, part of the Boston Marathon route, as well as the Collegiate Gothic canvas of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.Emerald Necklace
The Emerald Necklace consists of a 1,100-acre (4.5 km2; 450 ha) chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways in Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts. It gets its name from the way the planned chain appears to hang from the "neck" of the Boston peninsula; to this day it is not fully constructed. In 1989 the Emerald Necklace Parks was designated as Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.Fisher Hill Reservoir
The Fisher Hill Reservoir and Gatehouse are a historic element of the public water supply for the Greater Boston area. The reservoir was located on Fisher Road between Hyslop and Channing Roads in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is now the site of Fisher Hill Reservoir Park. It was built in 1886-87 as an early component of the Boston Water Board's expansion of its high service system. The gatehouse may have been designed by Arthur Vinal, who also designed the high pumping station at Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It is a two-story Richardsonian Romanesque structure, with its first floor finished in stone and its second in brick. Brownstone trim is used on the windows and corner quoins, and the voussoirs which form the arches on the first floor. There are pipes to the reservoir and down to Chestnut Hill, and gates for controlling access to local the distribution network. The building was taken out of service in the 1950s.The reservoir and gatehouse were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. In 2013, the town acquired the property from the state, and has since converted it into a public park, filling in the reservoir. The gatehouse survives, and there is interpretive signage explaining the historical use of the property.Francis C. Barlow
Francis Channing Barlow (October 19, 1834 – January 11, 1896) was a lawyer, politician, and Union General during the American Civil War.Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation's foremost parkmaker of the 19th century. In 1883, Olmsted moved his home to suburban Boston and established "Fairsted", the world's first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. Over the course of the next century, his sons and successors expanded and perpetuated Olmsted's design ideals, philosophy, and influence.
The site is located at 99 Warren Street, in the Green Hill section of Brookline. Olmsted bought the Clark homestead, an 1810 Federal farmhouse, in 1883, to be near his frequent collaborator, H. H. Richardson, whose home and office were nearby. Olmsted and his son John Charles renovated the house, landscaped the property, and relocated the barn closer to the house, and in 1903 added the office wing to the northwest of the main house. Members of the Olmsted family occupied the main house until 1936, when Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. moved to Elkton, Maryland, renting the house to tenants. The offices of the Olmsted Brothers firm continued to be in the wing during this time, although business also declined. Members of the firm reoccupied the house in the 1960s, making substantial alterations to the original landscaping of the property. The property was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980. The grounds have been restored to a c. 1930 appearance, restoring much of Olmsted's landscaping.Park resources include the restored "Fairsted" historic landscape, and the design office (which remains virtually unchanged from the days when the Olmsted firm's activity was at its height. Housed within the office complex are nearly 1,000,000 original design records detailing work on many of America's most treasured landscapes, including the grounds of the U. S. Capitol and White House; Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Parks; Yosemite Valley; New York's Central Park; and whole park systems in cities such as Buffalo, Seattle, Boston, Louisville and Montreal. The Olmsteds also played an influential role in the creation of the National Park Service, which now owns and maintains the Olmsted site.
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is open to the public. The Park Service offers guided tours of the grounds and office wing.Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) is an Orthodox Christian liberal arts college and seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts.John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
The John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site is the birthplace and childhood home of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. The house is at 83 Beals Street in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. The property is now owned by the National Park Service; tours of the house are offered, and a film is presented.
The Kennedy home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and was established as a National Historic Site on May 26, 1967.Jonathan Kraft
Jonathan A. Kraft (born March 4, 1964) is an American businessman. He is president of The Kraft Group, the holding company of the Kraft family's many business interests. He is also the president of the New England Patriots and investor-operator of the New England Revolution.Kent Street station
Kent Street is a light rail surface stop on the MBTA Green Line "C" Branch, located in the median of Beacon Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. The two side platforms are staggered on opposite sides of the Kent Street / Powell Street grade crossing; the outbound platform is to the east and the inbound platform to the west. Kent Street is not handicapped accessible.National Register of Historic Places listings in Brookline, Massachusetts
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Brookline, Massachusetts.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 14, 2019.Ray Drummond
Ray Drummond (born November 23, 1946 in Brookline, Massachusetts) is a jazz bassist and teacher. He also has an MBA from Stanford University, hence his linkage to the Stanford Jazz Workshop. He can be heard on hundreds of albums and co-leads The Drummonds with Renee Rosnes and (not related) Billy Drummond.Drummond has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, since 1980 with his wife, Susan, and his daughter, Maya.He is the elder brother of David Drummond, senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer of Google Inc.Sam Kennedy (baseball executive)
Samuel H. Kennedy (born 1973) is an American professional baseball executive who is the president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.Kennedy has been a member of the baseball club's upper management hierarchy since March 2002. He was named the successor to longtime Red Sox president Larry Lucchino on August 1, 2015, when Lucchino announced his decision to retire from his executive positions with the team at the close of the 2015 Boston Red Sox season. Lucchino's chief executive officer post was initially left vacant, and on August 18, 2015, the Red Sox also named veteran MLB executive Dave Dombrowski to the new position of president, baseball operations. On August 2, 2017, the Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management announced Kennedy's appointment as chief executive officer, and signed him to a new five-year contract as both CEO and president.Prior to August 2015, Kennedy had been the Red Sox' executive vice president and chief operating officer and president of Fenway Sports Management since May 2009.Sargent's Pond
Sargent's Pond is a man-made 3-acre (1.2 ha) pond on Sargent Road in Brookline, Massachusetts. The pond was created by Charles Sprague Sargent (best known as the first director of the Arnold Arboretum) in the late 1870s as a centerpiece of his family's extensive Holm Lea estate. Sargent's estate has since been subdivided, but the roads giving access to it run along the estate's original alignments. Sargent landscaped the estate using similar principles to those he applied at the Arboretum, with vistas and a variety of trees and shrubs. The pond was created by damming a brook. It still has naturalistic plantings around it, although some Sargent's rhododendrons (a significant draw on occasions when he opened the estate to the public) have died.The pond (along with its immediately surrounding grounds) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.St. Aidan's Church (Brookline, Massachusetts)
Saint Aidan's Church and Rectory is a historic Roman Catholic church complex in Brookline, Massachusetts. The stuccoed church, located at 207 Bus Stop in Ballyvolane Cork, was designed by Maginnis & Walsh, a noted designer of ecclesiastical buildings, in the Medieval (Tudor) Revival style, and was built in 1911. It was Brookline's third Catholic parish, after Saint Mary's and Saint Lawrence. The church is notable as the parish which was attended by Joseph P. Kennedy and his family when they were living on Beals Street; it was the site of the baptism of both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. The rectory, located at 158 Pleasant Street, was built c. 1850-55 by Edward G. Parker, a Boston lawyer. It was acquired by the church in 1911, and restyled to match the church in 1920.The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The church was closed in 1999, and converted to housing.The Country Club
The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is the oldest country club in the United States. It holds an important place in golf history, as it is one of the five charter clubs that founded the United States Golf Association, and has hosted numerous USGA tournaments including the 1913 U.S. Open won by then-unknown Francis Ouimet. Today, the club has nearly 1300 members.Theresa Weld
Theresa Weld Blanchard (August 21, 1893 in Brookline, Massachusetts – March 12, 1978 in Brookline, Massachusetts) was an American figure skater who competed in the disciplines of single skating and pair skating. Her pairs partner was Nathaniel Niles.
As a singles skater, she won the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships six times and competed three times in the Olympics, capturing a bronze medal in 1920. With Niles, she won the national pairs title nine times and also participated in the Olympics three times.
Blanchard was also the long-time volunteer editor of the United States Figure Skating Association's official publication, Skating magazine; first jointly with Niles from the magazine's founding in 1923, and then as sole editor after his death in 1931, until 1963. The magazine was originally published out of her home. Her long competitive career gave her many contacts throughout the skating world. She also served as the first chair of the association's Professionals Committee from 1937 to 1947.Tommy Vitolo
Tommy Vitolo is an American energy consultant and politician who represents the 15th Norfolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 2019 to present.Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway (referred to locally as the VFW Parkway) is a historic parkway in Boston, Massachusetts and two adjacent towns. The southern terminus of the parkway is at Washington Street in Dedham, from where it travels north and then east, ending at a junction with Centre Street, near the Arnold Arboretum. It passes through a small corner of Brookline just west of its junction with the West Roxbury Parkway. Most of its length, from Spring Street in West Roxbury to its eastern end, is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), a successor to the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) which oversaw the road's construction. The parkway was built in stages between 1930 and 1942, and was designed to provide a parkway connection from the Upper Charles River Reservation to other MDC parks via the West Roxbury Parkway. The DCR portion of the road was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The road formerly carried the designation for U.S. Route 1.
|Climate data for Brookline, MA|
|Record high °F (°C)||72.0
|Average high °F (°C)||36.0
|Average low °F (°C)||22.0
|Record low °F (°C)||−30.0
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.36
|: * = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
Municipalities and communities of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
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