Cedar Grove is a neighborhood within Dorchester, at the edge of Boston and across the Neponset River from the city of Quincy.
Proximity to affluent neighborhoods. It is next to some of the most expensive real estate within Dorchester, at Lower Mills, and as a result, has proximity to the cafes and restaurants which have appeared to serve the affluent residents.
Considerable green space and riverside trails. The historic Cedar Grove Cemetery occupies almost 55 of the neighborhood's 217 acres, offering a peaceful arboretum within the neighborhood. The Victorian cemetery, established in 1869, was named for the cedar trees along the Neponset River. Meanwhile, the Neponset River Reservation (76 Hill Top St.) extends from the town of Milton to Boston Harbor. There is a five-mile trail along the marshes and river, and opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
Cedar Grove was previously known as 'New Dorchester,' to distinguish it from the historic areas settled as far back as the 1630s, including Upham's Corner and Meeting House Hill.
The neighborhood was once an estate area, but was subdivided for modest housing as the nearby factories at Lower Mills began to be major employers in the region. After World War I, the neighborhood was even more densely developed, with two-family houses.
Today, Cedar Grove Civic Association seeks to maintain and improve the neighborhood.
There is one stop on the Red Line train here, at the Cedar Grove station. It is nine stops, or approximately 27-30 minutes, to South Station.
The western half of the neighborhood is convenient to this station, but the eastern half is in a large pocket of Dorchester further away from subway stations.
Cedar Grove is one of the southernmost neighborhoods within Dorchester, at the edge of Boston and the city of Quincy. To the west is Lower Mills, to the east is Neponset-Port Norfolk, and to the north is Ashmont.
Dorchester was founded in 1630, and the original town was much larger than it is today. Not only did it include much of South Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan.
The colonists arrived at Columbia Point and settled at Edward Everett Square in Upham's Corner in 1630, and expanded into Meeting House Hill by the 1680s. Much of inland Dorchester was either used for farmland, or remained forest. Cedar Grove was one of the later neighborhoods to develop, and was at one time known as 'New Dorchester.'
A cemetery – with a train running through it. Dorchester's oldest cemetery, the Old North Burying Ground (585 Columbia Rd., in Upham's Corner), was established in 1634, and by the 1860s was nearly at its capacity. In 1868, the town of Dorchester acquired the parcels which would become the Cedar Grove Cemetery. The Dorchester architect Luther Briggs, Jr. (1822-1905) designed it as a Victorian arboretum, with winding paths and avenues that framed views of the trees and the nearby river. He also contributed to the design of Mt. Wollaston Cemetery in nearby Quincy, and had designed the street grids in Clam Point/Harrison Square, Commercial Point, and Port Norfolk, where he lived.
In 1871, the Old Colony Railroad wanted to extend its tracks, and sought to obtain land through the middle of the cemetery through eminent domain. After considerable negotiation, they obtained the land in exchange for building the Cedar Grove Station. It is the only cemetery in the United States with a trolley running through it.
Neponset River parkland. In the late 1880’s, the Metropolitan Park Commission acquired the Neponset River salt marshes – the first salt marshes in the Commonwealth to be publicly owned. Over the past 100 years the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) has actively worked to acquire approximately 750 acres along the Neponset River, with a plan of thoughtful land stewardship, restoring damaged natural areas and opening sections for public use.
From 19th century estates to industry and worker housing. When it was still primarily rural, Cedar Grove was an estate area for the Baker family, owners of the Baker Chocolate Mill, and other prominent families. The Baker mill was the largest factory and employer in the area, and many other mills were developed to take advantage of the water power from the river and falls. The area was subdivided with modest housing aimed at the workers in the factories, and a second wave of development occurred after World War I, with many two-family houses built at this time.