Brookline, Massachusetts

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Brookline, Massachusetts
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Massachusetts
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Norfolk
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1638
established_title2 = Incorporated
established_date2 = 1705
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
government_type = Representative town meeting
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 17.7
area_total_sq_mi = 6.8
area_land_km2 = 17.6
area_land_sq_mi = 6.8
area_water_km2 = 0.1
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
population_as_of = 2007
settlement_type = Town
population_total = 54,809
population_density_km2 = 3,114.1
population_density_sq_mi = 8,060.1
elevation_m = 15
elevation_ft = 50
timezone = Eastern
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = Eastern
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 42 |latm = 19 |lats = 54 |latNS = N
longd = 71 |longm = 07 |longs = 18 |longEW = W
website =
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 02445, 02446, 02447, 02467
area_code = 617 / 857
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 25-09175
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0619456
footnotes =

Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, which borders on the cities of Boston and Newton. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 57,107.


Brookline was known as the hamlet of Muddy River (a river which today makes up part of the Brookline-Boston border) and was considered a part of Boston until the Town of Brookline was independently incorporated in 1705. Its name is derived from the brooks that created the town lines with the former towns of Brighton and Roxbury, which are both now parts of Boston.Fact|date=April 2007


Brookline is located at approximately coor dms|42|19|50|N|71|8|1|W|city (42.330664, -71.13364).GR|1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.8 square miles (17.7 km²), of which, 6.8 square miles (17.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.44%) is water.

Brookline borders Newton (part of Middlesex County) to the west and Boston (part of Suffolk County) to the east, north, south, northwest, and southwest; 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 Brookline-Boston annexation debate of 1873.

Brookline actually 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.


ettlement and borders

Once part of Algonquian territory, Brookline was first settled by European colonists in the early 1600s. 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. [ [ Packard's Corner: Once and Future City] ] ) The southern border, with Boston, was the Muddy River.

The city 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 resisted being absorbed by Boston, in particular as the Brookline-Boston annexation debate of 1873 was decided in favor of independence. 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 town has since seen considerable development, though still does maintain a considerable amount of greenspace in certain neighborhoods.

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. [ [ Brookline Village ] ] In 1810, the Boston and Worcester Turpike, 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.Fact|date=July 2007 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.


The neighborhoods, squares, and other notable areas of Brookline include:
* Beaconsfield
* Brookline Hills
* Brookline Village
* Buttonwood Village
* Chestnut Hill, which extends into Newton and the Boston neighborhoods of West Roxbury and Brighton, as well as Brookline
* Cleveland Circle
* Coolidge Corner
* Corey Hill
* Cottage Farm
* Fisher Hill
* Larz Anderson Park
* Longwood (across the Muddy River from the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston)
* North Brookline
* Pill Hill
* The Runkle District
* South Brookline
* Washington Square
* Whiskey Point

There are many neighborhood associations, some of which overlap. [] [ [ Brookline Town Information - Brookline Neighborhood Associations ] ]


As of the 2000 census,GR|6 there were 57,107 people, 25,594 households, and 12,233 families residing in the town. The population density was 8,409.7 people per square mile (3,247.3/km²). There were 26,413 housing units at an average density of 3,889.6/sq mi (1,501.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.08% White, 2.74% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 12.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. 3.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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% have a female householder, and 52.2% were non-families as defined by the Census bureau. 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 was $66,711. 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 age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


Infobox Weather |single_line=Yes |location=Brookline, Massachusetts
Jan_Hi_°F = 36 |Jan_REC_Hi_°F = 72
Feb_Hi_°F = 39 |Feb_REC_Hi_°F = 70
Mar_Hi_°F = 46 |Mar_REC_Hi_°F = 89
Apr_Hi_°F = 56 |Apr_REC_Hi_°F = 94
May_Hi_°F = 67 |May_REC_Hi_°F = 97
Jun_Hi_°F = 77 |Jun_REC_Hi_°F = 100
Jul_Hi_°F = 82 |Jul_REC_Hi_°F = 104
Aug_Hi_°F = 80 |Aug_REC_Hi_°F = 102
Sep_Hi_°F = 73 |Sep_REC_Hi_°F = 102
Oct_Hi_°F = 62 |Oct_REC_Hi_°F = 90
Nov_Hi_°F = 52 |Nov_REC_Hi_°F = 83
Dec_Hi_°F = 42 |Dec_REC_Hi_°F = 76
Jan_Lo_°F = 22 |Jan_REC_Lo_°F = -30
Feb_Lo_°F = 24 |Feb_REC_Lo_°F = -18
Mar_Lo_°F = 31 |Mar_REC_Lo_°F = -8
Apr_Lo_°F = 41 |Apr_REC_Lo_°F = 11
May_Lo_°F = 50 |May_REC_Lo_°F = 31
Jun_Lo_°F = 59 |Jun_REC_Lo_°F = 41
Jul_Lo_°F = 65 |Jul_REC_Lo_°F = 50
Aug_Lo_°F = 64 |Aug_REC_Lo_°F = 46
Sep_Lo_°F = 57 |Sep_REC_Lo_°F = 34
Oct_Lo_°F = 46 |Oct_REC_Lo_°F = 25
Nov_Lo_°F = 38 |Nov_REC_Lo_°F = -2
Dec_Lo_°F = 28 |Dec_REC_Lo_°F = -17
Jan_Precip_inch = 3.92
Feb_Precip_inch = 3.30
Mar_Precip_inch = 3.85
Apr_Precip_inch = 3.60
May_Precip_inch = 3.24
Jun_Precip_inch = 3.22
Jul_Precip_inch = 3.06
Aug_Precip_inch = 3.37
Sep_Precip_inch = 3.47
Oct_Precip_inch = 3.79
Nov_Precip_inch = 3.98
Dec_Precip_inch = 3.73
source = The Weather Channel.cite web |url=
title=MONTHLY AVERAGES for Brookline, MA |publisher="The Weather Channel"|accessmonthday=September 5 |accessyear=2008
] |accessdate=September 2008


Brookline is governed by a representative (elected) town meeting, which is the legislative body of the town, and a five-person Board of Selectmen which serves as the executive branch of the town. For more details about the roles and procedures within the government of Brookline, please see [ the town government's own description] .


Public schools

The town is served by the [ Public Schools of Brookline] . The student body at Brookline High School includes students from more than 50 different countries. Many students attend Brookline High from surrounding, neighborhoods in Boston, such as Mission Hill and Mattapan, via the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) system.

There are eight elementary schools in the Brookline Public School system: Edith C. Baker School, Devotion, Driscoll, Heath School, 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 student body is 66.1% White, 17.7% Asian, 9.9% Black, 5.9% Hispanic, and 0.4% other. Approximately 30% of students come from homes where English is not the first language.

Private schools

Several private primary and secondary schools, including the Beaver Country Day School, Brimmer and May School, [ British School of Boston] , Dexter School, Maimonides School, and The Park School are located in the town.

Higher education

Several institutes of higher education are located in Brookline, including:
*Pine Manor College
*Hellenic College
*Newbury College
*Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
*parts of Boston University
*Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
* [ The New England Institute of Art]


As close to Boston as Brookline is, it has managed to maintain its own identity. Brookline features a mixture of urban and suburban living, upscale shops and recreational parks, apartment buildings and large estates. Along with offering both a city atmosphere and a feeling of being in the country, there is a wide mix of people in Brookline. It is the home of many academic and scientific professionals who work at the nearby medical centers in Boston. Brookline has staunchly refused to be absorbed by Boston, which surrounds it like a horseshoe. Brookline has kept its town meeting form of government since its 1705 incorporation. It also has an overnight on-street parking ban which is unusual for such a dense area. Among its many unusual resources, Brookline has its own working farm (with farm stand), the oldest country club in the nation, a town golf course, a park on a hillside overlooking Boston with an open-air skating rink and transportation museum, as well as numerous neighborhood parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the town.

Its major retail centers, including Coolidge Corner, Brookline Village, Washington Square, Cleveland Circle and the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center, are pedestrian-oriented shopping areas with a variety of stores, restaurants and malls.

Although predominantly residential, Brookline is somewhat open to new commercial development, and has amended its zoning to encourage limited growth along its major thoroughfares.

Brookline is known in the Boston area for its large population of Russian immigrants and numerous synagogues. Jewish culture is very strong in Brookline; the Jewish population was estimated in 2002 at 20,300, [ [ American Jewish Yearbook, 2003] ] so Jews compose over 35% of the town's population. Jewish culture is especially notable along the section of Harvard Street that starts at Washington St (Brookline Village) runs through Beacon Street (Coolidge Corner) and ends at Commonwealth Avenue, continuing into Allston-Brighton. This neighborhood is home to at least three area synagogues including the first Jewish congregation in Massachusetts (Ohabei Shalom, founded in Boston in 1842 and located in Brookline since the 1920s) and a number of Jewish-themed restaurants and stores. Brookline is also known for its excellent schools, which are supported in large part by property taxes — the town has one of the highest property tax burdens in the country.

While residents of Brookline tend toward liberal values, economic and cultural factors keep this section of the Boston metropolitan area less diverse than its neighbor across the Charles River, Cambridge. Brookline's liberalism and diversity are relatively new developments in the town's history. In the 19th century, Brookline, which had been called "the richest town in America", was a sanctuary for the wealthy, where Boston's elites built their summer homes.

The Brookline Historical Society maintains its headquarters in the Edward Devotion House, one of the oldest colonial structures in Brookline with its earliest segments dating to probably around 1680. The first Edward Devotion (1621 -1685) settled in Brookline in about 1650. Devotion was a French Huguenot. The Brookline Historical Society was founded in 1901 and began meeting in the Devotion House the same year. [ [ The Edward Devotion House, Brookline Historical Society] ] The Edward Devotion School nearby is built on land donated by Edward Devotion's grandson.

Points of interest

*There were two stops on the Underground Railroad in Brookline: 9 Toxteth Street and 182 Walnut Street. [cite web|url=|title= The William Bowditch House|accessdate=2007-09-12] [cite web|url=|title= The Samuel Philbrick House|accessdate=2007-09-12]

*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 seven acres (28,000 m²) of landscaped grounds at 99 Warren Street. The town is home to part of Olmstead's Emerald Necklace of park systems.

*Larz Anderson Park is in Brookline on the 64-acre 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 christened 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 Architect's Gold Medal. Though it is on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Aidan's Church has been closed and may be converted into housing.

*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 Brookline Village). It includes a number of historically significant sites, including the S.S. Pierce Building (now occupied by a Walgreen's), and the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

See also Chestnut Hill Points of Interest.

Notable residents

*Jeff Adrien, UCONN Basketball player and Brookline High School All-Star Basketball player (2000-2004)
*Larz Anderson, United States Ambassador to Japan
*William Aspinwall, (1743-1823), surgeon, member of the Massachusetts General Court and Massachusetts Senate cite book | title = Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896 | publisher = Marquis Who's Who | location = Chicago | date = 1963]
*Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, lived the last 12 years of his life in Brookline.
*Larry Bird, professional basketball player, lived in Brookline while he played for the Boston Celtics
*Zabdiel Boylston, physician who introduced inoculation against smallpox to the North American colonies in 1721
*Michael A. Burstein (born 1970), science fiction writer
*Stanley Cavell (born 1926), professor of philosophy, winner of the MacArthur fellow
*Michael Dukakis (born 1933), former Governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate
*Walter Elcock, Former president of the USTA
*Theo Epstein (born 1973), Boston Red Sox General Manager
*Hank Eskin, webmaster of "Where's George?"
*King Gillette, inventor of the safety razor
*Sheldon Lee Glashow (born 1932), Nobel Prize-winning physicist
*John Hodgman (born 1971), author and contributor for This American Life and The Daily Show
*Richard Jones, US ambassador to Israel, lived in Brookline for a couple of years, with his family.
*John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), President of the United States. Born in Brookline where he lived his first 10 years. Baptized at and attended St. Aidan's Church. Attended Edward Devotion School, a Brookline public school from kindergarten until the beginning of 3rd grade, then Noble and Greenough Lower School and its successor Dexter School, a Brookline private school for boys through 4th grade. Moved with family to Riverdale, New York in September 1927.
*Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), Attorney General, US Senator, brother of President John F. Kennedy
*Robert Kraft (born 1942), New England Patriots owner
*Jon Krakauer (born 1954, raised in Corvallis, Oregon), author of Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, columnist for "Outside" magazine
*Michio and Aveline Kushi (, leaders of the worldwide macrobiotic movement
*Lester Lefton, president of Kent State University
*Lawrence Lowell (1856-1943), former president of Harvard University
*Eddie Lowery (1903-1984), Caddy of Francis Ouimet during the 1913 U.S. Open held in Brookline.
*Larry Lucchino (born 1945), co-owner of Boston Red Sox
*Roger Miller, rock musician
*Marvin Minsky (born 1927), Artificial Intelligence theorist, inventor, author, professor
*Nicholas Nixon, photographer, professor
*Conan O'Brien (born 1963), host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien
*Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), landscape architect
*Francis Ouimet (1893-1967), amateur golf player who won the US Open in 1913
*Henry Varnum Poor, creator of the Standard & Poor's Index
*Rishi Reddi, short story writer
*Dan Rosenthal (born 1966) Assistant to the President in the White House under Bill Clinton
* Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993), Noted Jewish scholar
*Timothy M. Sullivan, Boston interior designer
*James Taylor, American Musician, owns a home in Brookline
*Mike Wallace (born 1918), TV journalist, best known for 60 Minutes
*Barbara Walters (born 1929), television commentator and journalist
*David Weinberger, notable blogger, internet expert, and political consultant
*The Weld family
*Gary K. Wolf, creator of Roger Rabbit

References in popular culture

*Beacon Street in Brookline is the setting of the "Beacon Street Girls", a series of children's books for pre-teen girls.
*Jonathan Coulton's song "Brookline" seems to revolve around the area and its culture.

ee also

*Greater Boston
*List of Registered Historic Places in Brookline, Massachusetts
*Representative town meeting format
*Metropolitan area


External links

* [ Town of Brookline]
* [ Brookline Community Web Site]
* [ Brookline Historical Society]
* [ Hellenic College - Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology]
* [ Brookline High School]
* [ Maimonides School]
* [ First School of Mathematics]
* [ On Brookline]
* []
* [ Chestnut Hill Reservoir/ Boston Water Supply History.]
* [ Chart of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay with Map of Adjacent Country.] Published 1867. A good map of roads and rail lines around Brookline, showing the two town line brooks.
* [ Old USGS Maps of Brookline area.] See 1903 west maps. Click (slowly and repeatedly) on bottom right of small map image for big map image if your MSIE resize is on.

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