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Hyde Park, Boston facts for kids

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Hyde Park
The First Congregational Church of Hyde Park
The First Congregational Church of Hyde Park
Official seal of Hyde Park
Seal
Nickname(s): 
A Small Town in the City
Motto(s): 
Si Tentas Perfice (Latin)
"If you begin, finish"
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Suffolk
Neighborhood of Boston
Incorporated April 22, 1868
Annexed by Boston January 1, 1912
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
02136
Area code 617/857

Hyde Park is the southernmost neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Situated 7.9 miles south of downtown Boston, it is home to a diverse range of people, housing types and social groups. It is an urban location with suburban characteristics.

Hyde Park is covered by Boston Police Department District E-18 located in Cleary Square, and the Boston Fire Department station on Fairmount Avenue is the quarters of Ladder Company 28 & Engine Company 48. Boston EMS Ambulance Station 18 is located on Dana Avenue. Hyde Park also has a branch of the Boston Public Library.

The George Wright Golf Course, named for Baseball Hall of Fame and Boston Red Stockings shortstop George Wright, is in Hyde Park and Roslindale. It is a Donald Ross–designed course and is considered one of his finest designs.

Hyde Park has taken the motto "A Small Town in the City" because of its suburban feel. It was the only town annexed by majority vote of the residents into the City of Boston. The area was established in the 1660s and grew into a hub of paper and cotton manufacturing in the eighteenth century. The extension of rail lines from Boston in the 1850s spurred the area's residential development. The Readville section of Hyde Park contained a large manufacturing base housing the massive operations of the B. F. Sturtevant Company and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Locomotive and Car Shops.

Hyde Park and some of its residents have been important part of societal change in the United States. It was once home to the first all African-American army unit, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The regiment was made famous in the movie Glory. Hyde Park was home to the prominent abolitionists the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina, as well as Theodore Dwight Weld, for whom Weld Hall in Hyde Park is named.

History

In 1845, retired businessman Henry Grew took his family on vacation south of the City of Boston into what was then the western section of Dorchester, and came to a spot near the Neponset River valley with an unexpectedly pleasant view of the Blue Hills. He purchased several hundred acres of land (which later became known as "Grew's Woods", partially preserved today as the Stony Brook Reservation and the George Wright Golf Course) and moved to the area in 1847. (Grew later served as chairman of the new Town of Hyde Park's first Board of Selectmen, and became one of its most prominent citizens.) In the next few years, a group called the Hyde Park Land Company bought about 200 acres of land in the area and began building houses around a small unofficial passenger stop on the Boston and Providence Railroad that had developed at Kenny's Bridge on the road from Dedham to Milton Lower Mills (the road was River Street, and the station today is Hyde Park Station). At that time, the closest actual station was in the manufacturing district of Readville (formerly Low Plains) in Dedham.

Alpheus Perley Blake is considered the founder of Hyde Park. He was the organizer in 1856 of the Fairmount Land Company and Twenty Associates that developed the Fairmount Hill on the western side of Brush Hill Road in Milton, which led to the establishment of a bridge over the Neponset River and a station on the New York and New England Railroad (today Fairmount Station). The Twenty Associates, in addition to Blake, included William E. Abbot, Amos Angell, Ira L. Benton, Enoch Blake, John Newton Brown, George W. Currier, Hypolitus Fisk, John C. French, David Higgins, John S. Hobbs, Samuel Salmon Mooney, William Nightingale, J. Wentworth Payson, Dwight B. Rich, Alphonso Robinson, William H. Seavey, Daniel Warren, and John Williams. Within a few years, the two land companies merged and growth accelerated. By 1867, the settlements had grown to the point that there were 6 railroad stations in the area. Formal petition was made to the General Court of the Commonwealth and, after settling land and boundary disputes with Dedham and Milton, the Town of Hyde Park was incorporated on April 22, 1868 in Norfolk County from the settled land in Dorchester (Grew's Woods and the Hyde Park Land Company development), Milton (Fairmount) and Dedham (Readville). It remained a part of Norfolk County until 1912, when the town voted in favor of annexation to City of Boston in Suffolk County.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which was one of the first official African-American units in the United States Army and was commanded by Col. Robert G. Shaw, was assembled and trained at Camp Meigs in Readville.

In the 1960s, Hyde Park threatened to secede from Boston over plans to build a Southwest Expressway (Interstate 95) through the town along the route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, bifurcating the neighborhood and displacing many residents in the process as it had in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. Hyde Park has also faced other challenges along with its fellow Boston neighborhoods, such as the busing crisis of the 1970s.

Hyde Park has had an active industrial history. For over 100 years, it was the main base of the Westinghouse Sturtevant Corporation. The Readville area was also home to the Stop & Shop warehouse until it moved to Assonet in the early 2000s.

Hyde Park is home to many churches, most notably the Most Precious Blood, Saint Adalbert's and Saint Anne's Catholic Churches, and the Episcopal Parish of Christ Church (the oldest parish in Hyde Park, now Iglesia de San Juan) designed by Cram Wentworth & Goodhue and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hyde Park is also the original home of the Boston Crusaders, a World Class drum and bugle corps founded in 1940 at the Most Precious Blood Parish.

Community activism

Two important Hyde Park residents committed to social change and activism were sisters, Sarah Moore Grimke and Angelina Emily Grimké. These sisters played and important public roles throughout their lives in ending slavery and women's suffrage. In the 1970s desegregation busing of the Boston Public Schools caused an explosion in public activism. Public meetings and protests from concerned parents of affected children continued for years. The issue united Hyde Park with surrounding areas in an attempt to form a new school district for the purpose of avoiding desegregation. One Hyde Park resident, E. Gertrude Connelly, filed suit in Federal Court claiming the busing plan violated the [[Clean Air Act]]. Public tension over busing lasted more than a decade. Hyde Park is home to a large Haitian community that arrived from the troubled island in the 1980s through 1990s. Immigrants from rural areas of Haiti had limited education beyond early elementary school years. As a result of a Federal lawsuit by Hyde Park and other parents, Boston Public School was mandated to provide a comprehensive literacy program. The Haitian Literacy Program has been housed at Hyde Park High School since 1989. Hyde Park is currently under a major redevelopment effort by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan was adopted by BRA. As of yet, the plan has not met notable public resistance. Its aim is to change zoning in Hyde Park with an emphasis on public transit and pedestrian use.

Urban development and policies

When Hyde Park was incorporated into the City of Boston, B.F.Sturtevant Co already had a 20-acre industrial park in the Readville area. It became one of the largest fan manufacturing plants in the world. The plant employed 1500 people in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park hosted harness racing in the early part of the century. The site of the track was redeveloped on the former site of Camp Miegs. The Readville Trotting Park was neighbored by the large B.F.Sturtevant plant thus prompting the installation of a railway station. The track migrated from horses to auto racing.Auto racing was the main feature until its closure in 1937.

In the late 1940s – early 1950s, the Massachusetts Department of Public works attempted two separate interstate highway expansions. Both plans would have created a highway that would have passed through land in Hyde Park. The projects started but never finished. Interstate 695 and the Southwest Corridor would have run right though Hyde Park, effectively cutting it in half. Hyde Park residents considered seceding from the City of Boston. Hyde Park and the surrounding communities banded together. A large protest in Boston Common, during what was called "People Before Highways Day", united Hyde Park with the other locales affected by the projected. This rally proved to be crucial in having the plan stopped.

A large part of Hyde Park's interior is effectively off-limits to any development by the presence of the Stony Brook Reservation. The Stony Brook Reservation is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In April 2008, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, along with Mayor Menino, voted to remap and rezone Hyde Park. Mayor Menino appointed an advisory group of 13 residents to assist the BRA in creating a comprehensive rezoning plan. After two years, with input from city agencies and the community at large, BRA adopted Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan. BRA then went on to hire a team of consultants from urban architecture and design firm of Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge. Articles and a new zoning map were prepared and presented to the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, who accepted it. The Boston Zoning Commission subsequently agreed to the plan in February 2012.

Demographics

For the first 100 years or so after its founding, the inhabitants of Hyde Park consisted mostly of people with European heritage, the main ethnicities being Irish, Polish and Italian. Hyde Park has a significant number of individuals who are foreign-born. Non-citizens make up approximately 10% of the population, consisting primarily of Caribbean-born individuals. 38% of the total population speaks a language other than English. The latest census reports the current demographics breakdown to be as follows: African American 49.49%, Hispanic 19.7%, Non-Hispanic White 33.39%, Other Race 11.34%, Two or More Races 3.46, Asian 1.7%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.5%, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%. These two specific demographics, race and nationality, have remained largely unchanged over the last 20 years. A comparison of 2000 and 2010 census shows a 1% difference. The largest age demographic is individuals aged 39–54, who comprise 29% of the population. Hyde Park's elderly population has remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years, with the count hovering around 4,000, or 6.5% of the total. Hyde Park is home to roughly 7,000 school-aged children and has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in the city in the number of children. 39% of Hyde Park residents are married. Hyde Park's per capita income of appr. $32,224 is roughly average for the US ($33,706). Conversely, the average household income of approximately $89,815 is higher than the US average ($48,150). The poverty rate for Hyde Park, reported as being 10%, is also below the national average (14%). These figures include 586 families.

Historic architecture

Hyde Park's central business district at Cleary and Logan Squares features a variety of historic buildings, including the neighborhood's municipal building built by the City of Boston after annexation. The Hyde Park YMCA was built in 1902, and a major renovation of the original facility was completed in 2010. The English Gothic Church of the Most Precious Blood was completed in 1885 (its spire was removed in 1954), and the Parish of Christ Church by Cram Wentworth & Goodhue in 1895. The neighborhood library (a branch of the Boston Public Library since 1912) was built in 1899, and a contemporary addition by Schwartz/Silver Architects doubled the library's size in 2000. An opera house built by Leroy J. French in 1897 stands on Fairmount Avenue, and serves as the current home of Hyde Park's Riverside Theatre Works.

Hyde Park has quite an inventory of warehouses and factory buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Readville neighborhood and along the Neponset River and Mother Brook. Store 24 now known as Tedeschi's. Also, Fairmount Hill has many architecturally notable house styles, including Italiante, Gothic Revival and Victorian.

Community resources

A primary community resource is the BCYF Hyde Park Community Center. The community has been served for over 100 years by the center. It is housed in the former Hyde Park Municipal Building. The building was renovated in 2007 in order to accommodate more services and people. The Community Center provides diverse activities including adult education classes, senior citizen computer training and youth sports. Hyde Park is also home to one of Boston's two municipal golf courses. George Wright Golf Course is named after former Hyde Park resident and hall of fame baseball player George Wright. 11 parks and playgrounds are spread across Hyde Park as well as numerous open spaces. The Stony Brook Reservation is the largest containing over 400 acres of managed land and 10 miles of hiking paths.

The Hyde Park plaques decorate the area across the street from the Hyde Park Library. The bronze plaques commemorate special people and events of Hyde Park. They were created by Gregg Lefevre and installed in 2000 as part of an effort to provide glimpses of Hyde Park's history and culture. Riverside Theater Works is another community resource located in Hyde Park. It was originally created by Hyde Park resident and music teacher, Marietta Phinney. The live theater is located in 14,000 square foot facility and features a 156-seat opera house. Riverside Theater Works offers musical theater classes and serves the community by hosting recitals, meetings, fundraisers, and community gatherings. Hyde Park also has 16 playgrounds spread throughout the district including 5 baseball fields

Liveability

The cost of living in Hyde Park is very reasonable,especially for the amount of resources it has. Total crime rate is 3,888/100k, 9% higher than Boston, violent crimes 856/100k 9% higher than Boston, High school graduation rate 82%,employment median household is 61,656, 16% percent higher than Boston, median housing is 333,477, 11% percent lower than Boston, median rental rate 1,095 lower than Boston.

Transportation

The MBTA Commuter Rail's Fairmount shuttle to Readville is Hyde Park's most direct connection with downtown Boston, servicing both the Fairmount and Readville stations. The Providence/Stoughton branch also stops at Hyde Park station in Cleary Square, and the Franklin branch has scheduled stops at all three stations, while servicing mainly the one at Readville. Additionally, several MBTA bus routes (numbers 24, 32, 33 and 50) through Cleary and Logan Squares provide connections to the Orange and Red Lines, at Forest Hills station in Jamaica Plain and Mattapan station in Mattapan respectively. Hyde Park has no subway stations.

The privately owned Sumner Heights and Hazelwood Valley Railroad was operated experimentally around 1875 with a gauge of only 10 in (254 mm).

Attractions

One of the most attractions in Hyde park is Ron's Ice cream and bowling

Education

Primary and secondary schools

The Boston Public School system operates the public schools in Hyde Park. Public elementary and middle schools include the Henry S. Grew, the William E. Channing and the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School. The Elihu Greenwood School & the William Barton Rogers Middle School were closed in 2015. Another Course to College high school now occupies the former Greenwood building.

Local public charter schools include Academy of the Pacific Rim, Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, and the Boston Renaissance Charter School.

Hyde Park High School

Hyde Park has had a public high school since the early days of its township, housed in various locations, but the first proper building for Hyde Park High School was completed in 1902 at Harvard Avenue and Everett Street; the building was expanded and held the now closed Rogers Middle School. The high school became part of the Boston Public School system following the town's annexation, and a new building was built in the 1920s at Central and Metropolitan Avenues. In 2005 the high school was re-designated the Hyde Park Education Complex, which housed three smaller high schools: the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH), The Engineering School, and the Social Justice Academy. The complex was shut down in 2011; both the Engineering School and the Social Justice Academy closed, and CASH was relocated to Dorchester. As of the 2012–13 school year, the complex is occupied by Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) and New Mission High School (NMHS).

Private schools

Hyde Park is home to the private school Boston Trinity Academy and New Beginnings Academy.

Higher education

Hyde Park is home to the private Boston Baptist College, located on Fairmount Hill.

Former schools

  • The Engineering School
  • Elihu Greenwood Elementary School
  • Fairmount School (building now houses Boston Police Academy)
  • Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial School (building now houses Boston Trinity Academy)
  • Most Precious Blood Elementary School (building now houses Boston Preparatory Charter Public School)
  • Social Justice Academy
  • St. Anne's School (closed)
  • St. Pius X School (closed)
  • William Barton Rogers Middle School (closed)
  • Hyde Park High School (building now known as Hyde Park Education Complex)
  • Hyde Park Academy (closed)

Notable residents

  • Ella F. Boyd, teacher and geologist, elected to the Hyde Park school board five times, served from 1895 to 1910
  • Henry Beebee Carrington, Union general during the Civil War, one of the founders of the Republican party
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler, first black female doctor in the United States
  • Arthur Vining Davis, important figure in the development of Alcoa and its chairman of the board from 1928 to 1958
  • Manny Delcarmen, relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals
  • Ted Donato, drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 5th round (98th overall) of the 1987 NHL Draft; hockey head coach at Harvard University
  • Robert Frederick Drinan, Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, lawyer, human rights activist, dean of Boston College law school and Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • John Joseph Enneking, American Impressionist painter (1841–1911)
  • Steven F. Gaughan, police officer killed in the line of duty in Prince George's County; born and raised in Hyde Park
  • Angelina Emily Grimké, abolitionist and suffragist
  • William Monroe Trotter, African American activist, newspaper editor, founder of the Boston Guardian, early foundational member of NAACP, early foundational member of the Boston Literary and Historical Association, and founder of the National Equal Rights League.
  • Childe Hassam, artist, lived in Hyde Park in his early years
  • Thomas Menino, former mayor of the City of Boston
  • Ricardo Arroyo, Boston City Councilor District 5, the first person of color to hold the position in the history of Boston.
  • Stephen J. Murphy, Suffolk Register of Deeds, former Boston City Council President and Councilor-at-Large
  • Joseph M. Tierney, politician, served on the Boston City Council for 15 years
  • Maura Tierney, actress, famous for her roles in NewsRadio and ER

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