kids encyclopedia robot

Brighton, Boston facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
The Chestnut Hill Reservoir is located in the Brighton neighborhood. (Boston College can be seen in the background).
The Chestnut Hill Reservoir is located in the Brighton neighborhood. (Boston College can be seen in the background).
Official seal of Brighton
Little Cambridge, South Cambridge, Third Parish (all archaic)
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Suffolk
Neighborhood of Boston
Settled 1630
Incorporated February 24, 1807
Annexed by Boston January 5, 1874
 • Land 2.78 sq mi (7.2 km2)
 • Total 43,887
 • Density 15,786/sq mi (6,095/km2)
Time zone Eastern
 • Summer (DST) Eastern
Zip Code
Area code(s) 617 / 857

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.

The neighborhood of Allston was also formerly part of the town of Brighton, but is now often considered to be separate, leading to the name Allston–Brighton for the combined area. This historic center of Brighton is the Brighton Center Historic District. The Aberdeen section of Brighton was designated as a local architectural conservation district by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 2001.


Old FIrst Church of Brighton 1744-1811
The Old First Church of Brighton 1744–1811
1852 Middlesex Canal (Massachusetts) map
1852 map of Boston area showing Brighton and rail lines

In 1630, land comprising present-day Allston–Brighton and Newton was assigned to Watertown. In 1634, the Massachusetts Bay Colony transferred ownership of the south side of the Charles River, including present-day Allston–Brighton and Newton, from Watertown to Newetowne, later renamed Cambridge. In 1646, Reverend John Eliot established a "Praying Indian" village on the present Newton–Brighton boundary, where resided local natives converted to Christianity. The first permanent English settlement came as settlers crossed the Charles River from Cambridge, establishing Little Cambridge, the area's name before 1807.

Before the American Revolutionary War, Little Cambridge became a small, prosperous farming community with fewer than 300 residents. Its inhabitants included wealthy Boston merchants such as Benjamin Faneuil (after whom a street in Brighton is named). A key event in the history of Allston–Brighton was the establishment in 1775 of a cattle market to supply the Continental Army. Jonathan Winship I and Jonathan Winship II established the market, and in the post-war period that followed, the Winships became the largest meat packers in Massachusetts. The residents of Little Cambridge resolved to secede from Cambridge when the latter's government made decisions detrimental to the cattle industry and also failed to repair the Great Bridge linking Little Cambridge with Cambridge proper. Legislative approval for separation was obtained in 1807, and Little Cambridge renamed itself Brighton.

In 1820, the horticulture industry was introduced to the town. Over the next 20 years, Brighton blossomed as one of the most important gardening neighborhoods in the Boston area. The businessmen, however, did not neglect the cattle industry. In 1834, the Boston & Worcester Railroad was built, solidifying the community's hold on the cattle trade. By 1866, the town contained 41 slaughterhouses, which later were consolidated into the Brighton Stock Yards and Brighton Abattoir.

In October 1873, the Town of Brighton, in Middlesex County, voted to annex itself to the City of Boston in Suffolk County, and in January 1874 Brighton officially became a neighborhood of the City of Boston. Allston–Brighton's population grew tremendously in the next half century, rising from 6,000 in 1875 to 47,000 by 1925.


Brighton is accessible via the B branch of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)'s Green Line light rail service, which has 11 stops along Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton. Cleveland Circle on the C branch is located in the southern tip of Brighton, and the D branch is nearby. The former A branch of the Green Line, (discontinued in 1969), also served the community. Brighton is also served by MBTA bus routes 57, 57A, 64, 65, 66, 70, 86, 501, and 503, well as Boston Landing station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Framingham/Worcester Line.


Cemetery in Brighton Boston
Cemetery and apartment houses along Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton, near Chandler's Pond

Brighton is connected to the rest of the city by the Allston neighborhood. It is otherwise surrounded by Cambridge, Watertown, Newton, and Brookline. The Charles River separates Brighton from Cambridge and Watertown. According to the Census Bureau, Brighton, defined by zip code 02135, has a population of 43,887 and a land area of 2.78 square miles (7.2 km2).

Brighton is administered jointly with the adjacent neighborhood of Allston (zip code 02134). The two are referred to together as "Allston–Brighton " (and by some as "Brighton–Allston"), and (also according to Census Bureau data) have a combined population of 65,276 and a land area of 4.12 square miles (10.7 km2). Brighton is generally to the west of Everett, Gordon and Kelton streets. The current city councilor of Allston-Brighton is Mark Ciommo, who has held this position since 2007.


As of 2007, the estimated population of Brighton is 42,789, a 2.81% loss from the 2000 Census. The population density is 14,797 per mi2, slightly higher than the citywide average of 12,166 per mi2. The median age is 32.2. The largest measured age cohort is 25–34, which comprises 32.52% of the population. (Note: depending on methodology, college students might not be counted.) Fifty-nine percent of the population have never been married.

The population was 78% white, 12% Asian American, 3.5% black or African American, and nearly 7% Hispanic of any race.

Thirty-three percent of Brighton residents graduated from a four-year college.

As of 2016, the median home price was $495,000 compared with $217,200 for the country as a whole, and the cost of living was 30% higher than the national average. Brighton has a comparatively older housing stock. The median home age was 58 years and 42% of homes were built before 1939.

The largest religious group (45%) is Catholic, with Protestants and other Christians making up the second-largest, at 10% of the population. The next largest religions are Judaism (4%) and Islam 2%.

Race and ancestry

Brighton (02135) Racial Breakdown of Population (2017)
Race Percentage of
Percentage of
Percentage of
United States
ZIP Code-to-State
ZIP Code-to-USA
White 72.2% 81.3% 76.6% –9.1% –4.4%
White (Non-Hispanic) 66.3% 72.1% 60.7% –5.8% +5.6%
Asian 15.8% 6.9% 5.8% +8.9% +10.0%
Hispanic 10.2% 11.9% 18.1% –1.7% –7.9%
Black 5.1% 8.8% 13.4% –3.7% –8.3%
Native Americans/Hawaiians 0.5% 0.6% 1.5% –0.1% –1.0%
Two or more races 2.6% 2.4% 2.7% +0.2% –0.1%

According to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the largest ancestry groups in ZIP Code 02135 are:

Ancestry Percentage of
Percentage of
Percentage of
United States
ZIP Code-to-State
ZIP Code-to-USA
Irish 20.35% 21.16% 10.39% –0.80% +9.97%
Italian 10.96% 13.19% 5.39% –2.23% +5.57%
Chinese 10.70% 2.28% 1.24% +8.42% +9.46%
English 7.72% 9.77% 7.67% –2.06% +0.05%
German 5.82% 6.00% 14.40% –0.19% –8.59%
Russian 4.37% 1.65% 0.88% +2.72% +3.49%
Polish 3.96% 4.67% 2.93% –0.71% +1.03%
Puerto Rican 2.85% 4.52% 1.66% –1.67% +1.19
American 2.51% 4.26% 6.89% –1.75% –4.39%
French 2.37% 6.82% 2.56% –4.45% –0.19%
French Canadian 1.98% 3.91% 0.65% –1.92% +1.33%
Mexican 1.79% 0.67% 11.96% +1.12% –10.17%
Sub-Saharan African 1.66% 2.00% 1.01% –0.34% +0.64%
Scottish 1.57% 2.28% 1.71% –0.72% –0.15%
Asian Indian 1.56% 1.39% 1.09% +0.17% +0.37%
Swedish 1.35% 1.67% 1.23% –0.32% +0.12%
Greek 1.32% 1.22% 0.40% +0.10% +0.82%
Portuguese 1.06% 4.40% 0.43% –3.34% +0.63%


Brighton High School, Boston 2011-04-17 (1)
Brighton High School

Brighton is home to many Boston Public Schools:

  • Edison School
  • Winship School
  • Baldwin Pilot School
  • Mary Lyon Lower School (K–8)
  • Boston Green Academy
  • Brighton High School
  • Mary Lyon Upper Pilot High School (9–12)
  • Saint Joseph Preparatory High School

Brighton was home to many Catholic schools, many of which have closed: Our Lady of the Presentation in Oak Square (closed 2005), Saint Gabriel's, behind Saint Elizabeth Medical Center (closed 1970), Saint Sebastian's School in the Oak Square Heights (moved to Needham in 1977). Our Lady of Presentation School is currently under study for landmark status by the Boston Landmarks Commission. Remaining are Saint Columbkille's School on Arlington Street (K–8) and St. Joseph's Preparatory Academy (formerly Mount St. Joseph Academy), a co-educational high school located on Cambridge Street. The EF International Language School, an English and college preparatory school for international students, is located on Lake Street. The City of Boston leases the former Hamilton Elementary School building on Chestnut Hill Avenue to Bais Yaakov High School for Girls and Torah Academy of Brookline; Shaloh House Hebrew Day School is several blocks away.

The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, Brighton, MA
The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College

Brighton is home to the Everest Institute, Saint John's Seminary and portions of Boston College. The area is also close to other colleges, including Boston University, and houses many of their students and faculty.

Notable people

  • Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, born in Brighton, but raised in Medford
  • Mike Brady, winner of nine PGA events between 1916 and 1926
  • Fred Cusick, Boston Bruins play-by-play announcer for 45 years
  • Steve DeOssie, former professional football player for the NFL's New York Giants and New England Patriots
  • Dave Fay, sports journalist
  • William F. Galvin, Massachusetts Secretary of State
  • John Kelleher, was a backup infielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly for Chicago Cubs.
  • John F. Kelly, the 5th United States Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Joseph P. Kennedy II, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy; former U.S. Congressman for Massachusetts's 8th district
  • Patrick J. Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy; former U.S. Congressman for Rhode Island's 1st district
  • Chang Sik Kim, South Korean Buddhist master and founder of the art of Shim Gum Do, a Korean sword school
  • John Krasinski, film actor, director, writer
  • Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and many other Boston-set novels
  • Mr. Lif, rapper
  • Theodore B. Lyman, fourth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
  • Mike Milbury, former coach and player of the NHL's Boston Bruins
  • Amy Poehler, actress writer and comedian, lived on Strathmore Road while in college
  • Brigadier General Edmund Rice, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Edward E. Rice, New York stage producer.
  • Fred Salvucci, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation
  • Simon Shnapir, American Olympic medalist pair skater
  • Charles Richard Stith, former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania
  • Aidan "Eggsy Malone" Thaggard, notorious bank robber and bootlegger during the 1930s
  • Noah Welch, professional hockey player, 2018 US Olympic Team Member
kids search engine
Brighton, Boston Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.