|• Type||Representative town meeting|
|• Total||17.7 km2 (6.8 sq mi)|
|• Land||17.6 km2 (6.8 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.1 km2 (0.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||15 m (50 ft)|
|• Density||3,590.4/km2 (9,292.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0619456|
Brookline // is an affluent town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, in the United States, and part of the Boston metropolitan area. 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. Brookline was first settled in 1638 as a hamlet in Boston, known as Muddy River; it was incorporated as a separate town in 1705.
At the time of the 2020 United States Census, the population of the town was 63,191.It is the most populous municipality in Massachusetts to have a town (rather than city) form of government.
In its 2020 list of best places to live, Niche, the ranking and review website, placed Brookline as the best place to live in Massachusettsand the 10th in America.
Brookline was the birthplace and hometown of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.
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, which is the town's namesake. 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.
In 1843, deeds in Brookline forbade resale of property to "any negro or native of Ireland."
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. [ citation needed ] 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.Originally the property of CPT John Hull and Judith Quincy Hull. Judge Sewall came into possession of this tract, which embraced more than 350 acres, through Hannah Quincy Hull (Sewall) who was the Hull's only daughter. John Hull in his youth lived in Muddy River Hamlet, in a little house which stood near the Sears Memorial Church. Hull removed to Boston, where he amassed a large fortune for those days. Judge Sewall probably never lived on his Brookline estate.
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 northern part of town is nearly 20,000 inhabitants per square mile (8,000/km2), similar to the densest neighborhoods in nearby Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea, Massachusetts (the densest cities in New England), and slightly lower than 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 of Norfolk County in 1873, when the neighboring town of West Roxbury was annexed by Boston (and left Norfolk County to join Suffolk County). 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.
There are many neighborhood associations, some of which overlap.
Neighborhoods, squares, and notable areas of Brookline include:
The climate of Brookline is Humid continental Dfa.
|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|
Brookline falls under the USDA 6b Plant Hardiness zone.
|: * = population estimate. |
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the censusof 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 distribution was wide, 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, Brookline was reported as the town with the most doctoral degree holders (14.0% of the total population in 2012) in the United States.
The following historic buildings are open to the public:
Other historic and cultural sites include:
Brookline is governed by a representative (elected) town meeting, which is the legislative body of the town, and a five-person Select Board that serves as the executive branch of the town.
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 76 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.
Also, parts of the following are located in Brookline: Boston University including Wheelock College, Boston College, and Northeastern University's Parsons Field.
Newbury College closed in 2019.
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 haz-mat decon trailer, two maintenance units, as well as numerous other special, support, and reserve units. The Brookline Fire Department responds to approximately 8,500 emergency calls annually. The current Chief of Department is John F. Sullivan.
Brookline is twinned with:
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Boston metropolitan area as a major suburb of Boston. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city's population was 118,403, making it the fourth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. It is one of two de jure county seats of Middlesex County, although the county's government was abolished in 1997. Situated directly north of Boston, across the Charles River, it was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, once also an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders.
Norfolk County is located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. At the 2020 census, the population was 725,981. Its county seat is Dedham. It is the fourth most populous county in the United States whose county seat is neither a city nor a borough, and it is the second most populous county that has a county seat at a town. The county was named after the English county of the same name. Two towns, Cohasset and Brookline, are exclaves.
Watertown is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and is part of Greater Boston. The population was 35,329 in the 2020 census. Its neighborhoods include Bemis, Coolidge Square, East Watertown, Watertown Square, and the West End. It is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that retain the title of "town" while functioning under state law as cities.
Brookline is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 4,991 at the 2010 census. Brookline is home to the Talbot-Taylor Wildlife Sanctuary, Potanipo Pond, and the Brookline Covered Bridge.
Swampscott is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located 15 miles (24 km) up the coast from Boston in an area known as the North Shore. The population was 13,787 as of 2010. A former summer resort on Massachusetts Bay, Swampscott is today a fairly affluent residential community and includes the village of Beach Bluff, as well as part of the neighborhood of Clifton.
Brighton is a former town and current neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, located in the northwestern corner of the city. It is named after the English city of Brighton. Initially Brighton was part of Cambridge, and known as "Little Cambridge". Brighton separated from Cambridge in 1807 after a bridge dispute, and was annexed to Boston in 1874. For much of its early history, it was a rural town with a significant commercial center at its eastern end.
Fenway–Kenmore is an officially recognized neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. While it is considered one neighborhood for administrative purposes, it is composed of numerous distinct sections that, in casual conversation, are almost always referred to as "Fenway", "the Fenway", "Kenmore Square", or "Kenmore". Furthermore, the Fenway neighborhood is divided into two sub-neighborhoods commonly referred to as East Fenway/Symphony and West Fenway.
Allston is an officially recognized neighborhood within the City of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was named after the American painter and poet Washington Allston. It comprises the land covered by the zip code 02134. For the most part, Allston is administered collectively with the adjacent neighborhood of Brighton. The two are often referred to together as "Allston–Brighton." Boston Police Department District D-14 covers the Allston-Brighton area and a Boston Fire Department Allston station is located in Union Square which houses Engine 41 and Ladder 14. Engine 41 is nicknamed "The Bull" to commemorate the historic stockyards of Allston.
Kenmore Square is a square in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, consisting of the intersection of several main avenues as well as several other cross streets, and Kenmore station, an MBTA subway stop. Kenmore Square is close to or abuts Boston University and Fenway Park, and it features Lansdowne Street, a center of Boston nightlife, and the Citgo sign. It is also the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 20, the longest U.S. Highway.
The Emerald Necklace consists of a 1,100-acre chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways in Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts. It was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and gets its name from the way the planned chain appears to hang from the "neck" of the Boston peninsula. In 1989, the Emerald Necklace was designated as a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.
Coolidge Corner is a neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts, centered on the intersection of Beacon Street and Harvard Street. The neighborhood takes its name from the Coolidge & Brother general store that opened in 1857 at that intersection at the site of today's S.S. Pierce building, which was for many years the only commercial business in north Brookline.
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. Kennedy is one of four U.S. presidents born in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The property is now owned by the National Park Service; tours of the house are offered, and a film is presented.
The Florida Ruffin Ridley School, formerly known as the Coolidge Corner School and the Devotion School or Devo, is a public K-8 school located at 345 Harvard Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, United States. It is a part of Public Schools of Brookline.
Fenway, commonly referred to as The Fenway, is a mostly one-way, one- to three-lane parkway that runs along the southern and eastern edges of the Back Bay Fens in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, in the east-central part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As part of the Emerald Necklace park system mainly designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 19th century, the Fenway, along with the Back Bay Fens and Park Drive, connects the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to the Riverway. For its entire length, the parkway travels along the Muddy River and is part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston. Like others in the park system, it is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Beacon Street is a major thoroughfare in Boston, Massachusetts and its western suburbs Brookline and Newton. It passes through many of Boston's central and western neighborhoods, including Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway–Kenmore, the Boston University campus, Brighton, and Chestnut Hill.
The Muddy River is a series of brooks and ponds that runs through sections of Boston's Emerald Necklace, including along the south boundary of Brookline, Massachusetts. The river, which is narrower than most waterways designated as rivers in the United States, is a protected public recreation area surrounded by parks and hiking trails, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Brookline Avenue is a principal urban artery in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, terminating in the town of Brookline. The Landmark Center, Fenway Park, Emmanuel College, Longwood Medical and Academic Area and Kenmore Square are sites along its length. It runs from Kenmore Square in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, forming a 1.5-mile straight line to its other terminus at Washington Street in the Brookline Village neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts.
Pill Hill, also known as "High Street Hill," is a neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts, United States, and part of Greater Boston.
Park Drive is a mostly one-way, two-lane parkway in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston that runs along the northern and western edges of the Back Bay Fens before ending at Mountfort Street. As part of the Emerald Necklace park system mainly designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 19th century, Park Drive, along with the Back Bay Fens and the Fenway, connects the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and Boylston Street to Beacon Street and the Riverway. For a portion of its length, the parkway runs along the Muddy River and is part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston's Muddy River Reservation. Like others in the park system, it is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The Longwood Historic District is roughly bounded by Chapel, St. Marys, Monmouth, and Kent Sts. in Brookline, Massachusetts. The area was developed in the mid-19th century by David Sears and Amos Adams Lawrence as a fashionable residential area, and retains a number of architecturally distinguished buildings, including the Longwood Towers complex at 20 Chapel Street, Christ's Church Longwood, and Church of Our Saviour, Brookline. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1978.
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brookline, Massachusetts .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Brookline .|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article " Brookline ".|