Brookline, Massachusetts facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Location in 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|
Brookline 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. Brookline was first settled in 1638 as a hamlet in Boston, but was incorporated as a separate town in 1705.
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.
|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
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.36
- See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
|: * = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
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 total population) in 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, 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 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 the Emerald Necklace of parks and parkways was designed for Boston by Frederick Law Olmsted 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 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.
Transportation and economy
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, along with the nearby Boston neighborhood of Brighton and the city of Newton, is a cultural hub for the Jewish community of Greater Boston.
- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Metropolis of Boston is headquartered in Brookline.
Points of interest
- See also: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
- Coolidge Corner, which is located at the crossing of Beacon Street and Harvard Street, is one of Brookline's two primary retail districts (the other being Washington Square). It includes a number of historically significant sites, including the S.S. Pierce Building, and the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
- There were two stops on the Underground Railroad in Brookline: 9 Toxteth Street and 182 Walnut Street.
- The Country Club, an exclusive sporting club in the town, was the first private club in the United States formed exclusively for outdoor activities. It is most famous as a golf club; it was one of the five clubs that formed what is now the United States Golf Association and has hosted the U.S. Open three times and the Ryder Cup Matches once.
- "Fairsted", the 100-year-old business headquarters and design office for renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted Brothers firm, has been carefully preserved as the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, on 7 acres (2.8 ha) of landscaped grounds at 99 Warren Street.
- Brookline is home to part of Frederick Law Olmsted's Emerald Necklace of park systems, including Olmsted Park.
- Larz Anderson Park is in Brookline on the 64-acre (26 ha) estate once owned by Larz Anderson and Isabel Weld Perkins. The park contains the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, the oldest automobile collection in the country, as well as Putterham School, a one-room schoolhouse from colonial times.
- The birthplace of John F. Kennedy stands in Brookline and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is maintained by the National Park Service and is open to the public from May through September.
- St. Aidan's Church was where John F. Kennedy was baptized and where the Kennedy family and other prominent Irish-Americans were parishioners. The church was designed by architect Charles Maginnis, who was awarded the American Institute of Architects' gold medal. Although it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Aidan's Church has been closed and converted into housing.
- The Puppet Showplace Theatre, one of the four oldest puppet theatres in the United States, is located in Brookline Village.
- The Dutch House, one of only five surviving buildings from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 was relocated to Brookline.
- John Goddard House, an historic house at 235 Goddard Avenue, was built in 1767 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
There are many neighborhood associations, some of which overlap.
The neighborhoods, squares, & notable areas of Brookline include:
- Aspinwall Hill
- Brookline Hills
- Brookline Village
- Buttonwood Village
- Brookline High School, Near Pierce District
- Chestnut Hill, which also extends into Newton and the Boston neighborhoods of West Roxbury and Brighton
- Cleveland Circle, which also extends into Brighton and up towards Boston College
- Coolidge Corner
- Corey Farm
- Corey Hill
- Cottage Farm
- Fisher Hill
- JFK Crossing
- Larz Anderson Park, up next to Moss Hill, part of Jamaica Plain, MA
- Longwood (across the Muddy River from the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston)
- North Brookline
- Pill Hill (also known as "High Street Hill")
- The Point (originally "Whiskey Point")
- Putterham Circle (South Brookline)
- The Runkle District
- South Brookline ("Sobro")
- Saint Mary
- The Heights (just west of Washington Square)
- Washington Square
Light rail and subway
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.
- See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United States
Twin towns – Sister cities
Brookline is twinned with:
Brookline, Massachusetts Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.