Jamaica Plain
United States > Massachusetts > Greater Boston > City of Boston > Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Boston. It feels unlike other neighborhoods in Boston, and the qualities that make it different are also what make it so desirable. Unusual for a neighborhood so close to downtown Boston, Jamaica Plain is surrounded by some of the city's largest parks and protected land, and it contains two large ponds, architecturally-significant historic housing. and is also very well-served by the subway and has a lively neighborhood center.

Before the American Revolution, the neighborhood was a Tory stronghold, and a number of estate houses survive. As a nod to this history, the neighborhood schools include the British School of Boston. However, the majority of houses were designed in the mid-1800s and after the Civil War.

Significant parkland. Jamaica Plain contains or borders several of Boston's Emerald Necklace of parks, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1890s – including the 265-acre Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, the 275-acre Forest Hills Cemetery, the 487-acre Franklin Park, and Olmsted Park. Olmsted Park includes Leverett Pond, Ward's Pond, and Willow Pond. At the center of the neighborhood – and the Emerald Necklace – is Jamaica Pond, the only surviving extensive body of fresh water within Boston. (The Chestnut Hill Reservoir is slightly larger at 84 acres, but is man-made). Jamaica Pond survived urbanization because its size (70 acres) and depth (up to 70 feet) prevented it from being filled in.

After it was annexed to Boston in 1874, it began to be developed as a streetcar suburb marketed as "the Eden of America." Except without the talking snakes and forbidden apples.

Jamaica Plain contains a handful of surviving houses survive from the 1700s and early 1800s, but the majority of the neighborhood's housing dates from after the Civil War, and especially after its annexation to Boston in 1874. The first triple-deckers here were built in the 1870s, and spread rapidly by the 1890s.


Jamaica Plain is a large neighborhood with several distinct sections, including:

Brookside is one of the easternmost neighborhoods within Jamaica Plain. It is roughly bounded by Boylston, Green, and Washington streets, and the Southwest Corridor Park.

Forest Hills is tucked in between two of the larger green spaces in Boston, the 281-acre Arnold Arboretum and the 275-acre Forest Hills Cemetery of monumental sculpture and woodland trails. Parts of Forest Hills, like Woodbourne, were planned using Garden City principles that emphasized retaining a sense of nature within the city. It is roughly bounded by the Arborway, Morton Street, Walk Hill Street, South Street and Forest Hills Cemetery.

Moss Hill is regarded as the most desirable neighborhood within Jamaica Plain since it was developed. It is in the southwest corner of the neighborhood, off the Arborway at the edge of Brookline and Chestnut Hill. It's 200 acres were formerly Bowditch Hill, named for the prominent Salem family. While some parts of Jamaica Plain can be quite densely developed with triple deckers and small lots, this section has mostly single-family houses with larger lots and mature trees. Adding to the neighborhoods appeal are
Allandale Farm, Larz Anderson Park, and the British School nearby.

Parkside is roughly bounded by Washington Street, Egleston Square, Morton Street and Franklin Park.

Pondside is roughly bounded by Centre Street, Perkins Street, and the Jamaicaway.

Sumner Hill was developed on the former Greenough estate, as another affluent enclave. It is roughly bounded by Seaverns Avenue, and Everett, Newbern, and Sedgwick streets.

Stonybrook, on the southeastern corner of the neighborhood, bordering Forest Hills Cemetery. The Stony Brook valley had long been the industrial center of Jamaica Plain. In 1871, the Haffenreffer brewery opened near Boylston and Amory Streets, taking advantage of the Stony Brook aquifer and the presence of German immigrants in the area.

Sunnyside roughly bounded by Centre, Day, Gay Head, and Round Hill streets.

Woodbourne is the southernmost neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Like Forest Hills, it was planned using Garden City principles – and like many of the early developments based on these ideas, the houses were intended to be affordable but ended up being so attractive and desirable that they drew more affluent residents.

Best blocks and notable buildings

Underground Railroad houses. Jamaica Plain residents were strongly abolitionist, and a number of houses have been documented as being part of the Underground Railroad that brought slaves safely north to freedom. These include:

John Morey House (1085 Centre St.), built in 1796, is the third-oldest surviving house in Jamaica Plain.
526 Centre St., built 1806.
812-814 Centre St., built 1802-1810.
1090 Centre St., built 1820s.
48 Goldsmith St., built before 1830, and moved here from another location.
52 Elliot St., built before 1840s.
50 Eliot St., built c. 1840s.
1 Dane St., built 1833-34.
45R Green St., built. c.1842.
47 Eliot St., built c.1843.
20 Seaverns Ave., built c.1845.
11 Harris Ave., built c.1845 with a distinctive arched entry.
83 Elm St., built c.1854.
195 Chestnut Ave., built c.1858 with a distinctive double-bowfront mansard.

J. Curtis House (480 Centre St.) was built in 1803, and is the fourth-oldest surviving house in Jamaica Plain.

Ellen Swallow Richards House (32 Eliot St.) Former residence of Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911), the first female student at MIT (class of 1873), and later returning – much like Maverick in Top Gun – as an professor.

Elizabeth Peabody House (8 Gordon St.) Former residence of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-1894), a pioneer in American education when she launched the first kindergarten in the United States in 1860, modeled after those she had seen in Germany. Like fellow Transcendentalist (and Jamaica Plain neighbor) Margaret Fuller, she also studied with young Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as William Ellery Channing. Her sister Sophia married Nathaniel Hawthorne, and her other sister Mary married Horace Mann. Until 1850, she owned a bookstore on West Street in downtown Boston, and is regarded as one of the first woman book publishers in the United States.

Susan Walker FitzGerald House (7 Greenough Ave.) Former residence of Susan Walker FitzGerald (1871-1943), the first woman Democrat elected to the Massachusetts state legislature. She had worked actively to promote women's suffrage, and served one term in 1922.

Linden Hall (26-28 Grovenor Rd.) was built in 1755 by John Gould for his daughter and son-in-law. It is the oldest surviving building in Jamaica Plain, and the 20th-oldest surviving building in Boston. The English-style estate has since been converted to condos.

Maurice Tobin House (30 Hopkins Rd., Moss Hill) Former residence of mayor and governor Maurice Tobin.

Mayor Curley House (350 Jamaicaway) The distinctive Georgian Revival house with the shamrock shutters was the former residence of the flamboyant Boston mayor James Michael Curley (DATES), who even served a portion of his mayoral term in prison for mail fraud.

Wee Stone House (57 Louder's Lane, Jamaica Hills), built 1926-27 and inspired by the affordable stone house designs of pioneering architect Ernest Flagg (1857-1947). The house became the subject of Steve Lerman's book.

Margaret Fuller House (81 Morton St.) Former residence of Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a feminist and literary critic who had close friendships with many of the leading intellectuals of Boston, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom she spent weeks at a time visiting at his house and teaching him German. She and Emerson founded The Dial, a Transcendentalist magazine, and in 1844, she served as the book review editor and foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune. She perished at sea off of Fire Island, New York. As an aside, her relative is the noted inventor Buckminster Fuller.

24 Prince St. was the former residence of iconic poetSylvia Plath (1932-1935).

Emily Greene Balch House (130 Prince St.) Former residence of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Emily Green Balch (1867-1961). She taught economics and sociology at Wellesley College, and was an activist on behalf of women's suffrage, racial justice, child labor, and better wages and conditions of labor. She donated her share of the Nobel Peace Prize money to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom when that group was short of funds.

Governor Eugene Foss House (7 Revere St., Sumner Hill) is the former residence of governor Eugene N. Foss.

Maud Cuney-Hare House (43 Sheridan St.) Former residence of noted musician and music historian Maud Cuney-Hare (1874-1936). As a participant in the Harlem Renaissance, she helped to document the development of black America’s musical and theatrical arts movement. She is best known for her groundbreaking book, Negro Musicians and Their Music. Published in 1936, the 439-page volume traces the development of African American music from its African roots to the birth of jazz.

Loring-Greenough House (12 South St.). The second oldest house in Jamaica Plain. This Georgian house was built in 1760 for Joshua Loring (1716-1781), a commodore in the British navy. Having fought on the wrong side of the American Revolution, he was one of over 300 people named to the Massachusetts Banishment Act of 1778, and his estate, like much Tory property, was seized by the commonwealth. The prominent Greenough family owned the house from 1783 until 1924, when the philanthropic Tuesday Club saved it for demolition. It is now a house museum.

32 Woodland Rd. was the childhood home of Mary Orne Bowditch, of the family whose 200-acre estate became Moss Hill.

Marie Zakrewska House Former residence of a pioneering female doctor, Marie Zakrewska (1829-1902), who emigrated from Poland to America in 1853, hoping to practice medicine. With the help of Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910), one of the first women graduates of a medical school, she attended Case Western Reserve Medical College. However, when the male medical establishment refused to allow her to practice, she founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children, which hired only women physicians and served only female patients. As a result, she opened doors to women physicians who had been excluded from clinical training opportunities at male-dominated institutions.

Commercial and retail

In Jamaica Plain, the first commercial blocks were built in the 1870s, with the first brick commercial building erected in 1875.

Centre Street is a charming, compact neighborhood center with restaurants, bars, and yoga studios. Given that is has now become a destination, it's worth considering how it was described by the Boston Globe in 1967: "the tributary for the district's blighted business section, a pockmarked two-way avenue of potholes sliced down the middle by the Huntington Avenue trolley line."

Egleston Square is at the eastern edge of the neighborhood, at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Washington Street. It is at the between the Fort Hill section of Roxbury section and Franklin Park.

Hyde Square the area around the intersection of Centre Street, Day Street, and Perkins Street, extending east along Centre Street towards Roxbury

Jackson Square intersection of Columbus Avenue and Centre Street. Served by a stop on the Orange Line.


The neighborhood is served by several stops on the Orange Line. Residents in the southern part of the neighborhood also have the Commuter Rail. Residents of the northwest corner of the neighborhood have access to the Green Line, with stops at Heath, Back of the Hill, and Riverway.

Bicycle paths. Two major bicycle paths serve Jamaica Plain. Along the Southwest Corridor Park is the Pierre Lallement Bicycle Path, which runs from Forest Hills to Back Bay. To the west are bicycle paths, which run through the parks of the Emerald Necklace, along the Jamaicaway and Riverway.


Jamaica Plain is a large neighborhood of Boston, with several distinct sections. To the west is the town of Brookline, and Chestnut Hill; and to the south are West Roxbury and Roslindale; to the east is Franklin Park and Roxbury, while to the north is Mission Hill.

The area was first called “the Pond Plain” - referring both to Jamaica Pond and the flat land surrounding it. The neighborhood's distinct name is likely an Anglicization of Kutchamaiken ("big feather"), chief of an Indian tribe at Jamaica Pond in summer and Dorchester Lower Mills in winter - and [regent] for Chickatawbut, the sachem (chief) of _______. Kutchemakin resisted John Eliot’s first attempt to convert Native Americans but swore allegiance to King James I. As early as 1667 it was mentioned in the official record of the conveyance of the property of Hugh Thomas for the benefit of a school “to the people at the Jamaica end of the Town of Roxbury.”

In 1637, Captain Joseph Weld (1599–1646) – an ancestor of the many prominent Welds in New England and American politics – was awarded 278 acres of land in the then-town of Roxbury for his participation in the Pequot War. Those lands were in today's Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods, and the significant wealth these lands provided enabled him to be one of the first donors to the new colonial college called Harvard.

Originally part of the Town of Roxbury. Today's Jamaica Plain neighborhood began as part of Roxbury, the sixth town to be incorporated in Massachusetts (1630), just after ______ and _______. When it was an independent town, Roxbury extended to Dorchester on the east, Brookline to the west, Dedham on the south, and north to the Shawmut Peninsula of Boston. Residents of Jamaica Plain first tried to secede and incorporate as an independent town in 1776, under the timely name of Washington. And again in 1811. In 1851, West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain split off from Roxbury, as the Town of West Roxbury. (West Rox annexed to Boston in DATE, and Roxbury in DATE).

Finally in 1851 Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury were set off from Roxbury under the name of the Town of West Roxbury, centering around the present Monument. This was an occasion of great rejoicing with cannon firing, bell ringing, fireworks, and speeches. Yet the need for a common water supply, streets, and sewers eventually made it necessary to join Boston, to which it was so closely united commercially and geographically. Thus Jamaica Plain was formally separated from the Town of West Roxbury and annexed to the city of Boston in 1874.

The early inhabitants were well-to-do farmers supplying vegetables and fruits to Boston. It was also the site of elegant country-seats occupied by government officials, professional and literary men, and city merchants. For more than 150 years, Jamaica Plain’s Centre Street (note the antique spelling) formed a direct route (indeed the only land route) for travelers proceeding out of Boston to Dedham, and thence to Providence, by horseback, private carriage, or stagecoach.

Civic leaders (governors and mayors) have long favored Jamaica Plain. Governors Foss and Curley, and Mayors Peters, Tobin, and Collins lived here.

In the 1600s, the lands that would become Jamaica Plain were part of the settlement/town of Roxbury, established 16xx. When a section of Roxbury seceded in 1851 to form the new town of West Roxbury, this included Jamaica Plain. And when West Roxbury annexed to Boston in 1874, Jamaica Plain became a neighborhood of the city. [this is also one of the reasons why neighborhood boundaries are so blurry or contentious).

The area began as farms and estates, with some notable [mansions] in what was then bucolic countryside - including those of Benjamin Faneuil (nephew of Peter Fanueil, for whom Fanueil Hall is named), and the Loring estate - and gradually ________. For more than a century it was an attractive summer resort for Bostonians.

Revolutionary War. The neighborhood played a role in the American Revolution, and changed significantly after the war. In 1775, troops from Rhode Island and Connecticut were quartered with residents of Jamaica Plain. General Washington stationed troops on Weld Hill, today's Bussey Hill in the Arnold Arboretum. The units protected the road south to Dedham (Centre Street), where the American arsenal was kept, in case the British broke the siege of Boston. In the Revolutionary War during the Battle of Dorchester Heights and the accompanying Siege of Boston, the Dedham Road was the lifeline of the army, connecting active forces with their arms and supplies stored in Dedham.

With the American Revolution, many of the Tory estate owners fled the country, and were replaced by the rising elite of the new Boston. In 1777, John Hancock purchased an estate near the pond. The widow Ann Doane bought the estate once owned by Loyalist Joshua Loring (which is still standing, as the Loring-Greenough House). She soon was remarried, to attorney David S. Greenough – whose family name is remembered in Greenough [Hall] at Harvard. When Samuel Adams became governor of Massachusetts, he bought the former Peacock Tavern at today's Centre and Allandale streets, near the Faulkner Hospital. With his wealth made in the China trade, James Perkins built his home, Pinebank, overlooking Jamaica Pond in 1802.

However, within a generation of the Revolution, Jamaica Plain had changed significantly, and the estate owners had given way to ________. The denser development and smaller houses ... and In 1873, West Roxbury residents - most living in Jamaica Plain - voted in favor of annexation to Boston.

In the late 1800s, it became one of the early streetcar suburbs].

The Stony Brook river that defined the area was buried. REWORD The continued movement of both residents and businesses into the Stony Brook valley brought calls to contain the brook, prevent floods, and provide sewer drainage.[10] During the 1870s, the brook was deepened and contained within wooden walls, but the spring thaw resulted in flooding of surrounding streets, and a new effort. Work continued until 1908, when the brook was placed into a shallow culvert from Forest Hills to its present outlet in the Boston Fens, behind the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In the following years, the brook that once defined the industrial heart of Jamaica Plain was largely forgotten, until it was memorialized by the new Stony Brook Orange Line station at Boylston Street. [FLOODING ISSUES?'

Ice houses. During the DATES, ice houses lined the south shore of Jamaica Pond. Ice was harvested each winter by the Jamaica Plain Ice Company and sold in Boston and beyond until the 1890s, when the City of Boston bought the pond.

German residents, and breweries. then, and now ... Before Prohibition, there were 31 breweries in Boston, largely concentrated in the Stony Brook corridor of Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill. Haffenreffer became the last remaining brewery in Boston. It closed in 1964, and Jamaica Plain produced no beer until 1988 when Jim Koch started up his local company, whose beer distribution has radiated outward from Boston year by year, spreading the name of Sam Adams.

Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill had twelve breweries. Local distribution of ale, and later German-style lager beer, was the rule before refrigeration and modern roads. While local production ended in 1964, many brewery buildings still stand in our neighborhood.On Heath Street, the Highland Spring Brewery had been operating since 1867. In the 1880s, the Eblana and Park breweries and the American Brewing Company opened, taking advantage of local German and Irish immigrants to fill jobs. Franklin Brewery extended the beermaking district to Washington Street. These and other breweries were all closed to beer making during Prohibition, and few survived to reopen after repeal, although many found other uses, and some still stand.

In 1897, the Tuesday Club formed for women (who were not admitted to the other groups), and still exists at the Loring Greenough house. // JP Footlights & "Banned in Boston"

“In the Victorian era Jamaica Plains’ 200 acre Moss Hill was also known as Bowditch Hill, named for one branch of the Bowditch family of Salem fame, who lived there. Grandfather Jonathan Bowditch brought his family to Moss Hill in the mid-19th century. In 1885 his son Alfred built a house, still standing, for his family on the hill’s northern side. In 1950 Rosamond Bowditch Loring wrote a brief memoir of Moss Hill, which has been republished by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society." - Walter H. Marx

In 1802 Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem published The New American Practical Navigator (which is often referred to as simply "the Bowditch" and whose full title is "The New American Practical Navigator: Being an Epitome of Navigation; Containing All the Tables Necessary to Be Used With the Nautical Almanac in ... and Keeping a Complete Reckoning at Sea"). {Legit, the book title is so long that it wouldn't fit in a single 140-character tweet). This remarkable publication is still in use by those who navigate ocean-going vessels to this date. It has been through over fifty editions (and its publication is now overseen by the US Government).

Upon Nathaniel's death in 1838 the editorial responsibility for the book was passed to his second son Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch (1806- 1889). Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch moved to Jamaica Plain in 1854 when he purchased most of the land known as Moss Hill today, from Theopolus Parsons. His first house actually burned in 1856 but luckily, the family's bust of Nathaniel Bowditch was saved from the flames. He rebuilt his home and became involved in many community organizations, including the First Church. He served as an Overseer at Harvard as well as serving on the Corporation of MIT.

In 1836, Jonathan married Lucy Orne Nichols. She was the granddaughter of Col. Thomas Pickering who had served as an aide to Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

In the late 19th century, Boston's Emerald Necklace of parks was designed and built by Frederick Law Olmsted, with much of the southern section of the connecting parkland in or bordering on Jamaica Plain. Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park have been enjoyed by generations of Jamaica Plain residents. The pond had long been the site of estates, which were torn down to make the new park. Fishing and ice skating were popular pastimes, and each winter ice was removed from the pond before the time of electric refrigeration. With the new park, homes and the commercial icehouses were removed. The Arboretum was developed on land originally owned by the Weld family, and donated by Benjamin Bussey, with financial support from the will of James Arnold. The Arboretum is now owned by the City of Boston, and managed by Harvard University.[17]
Forest Hills train bridge

Perhaps the most dramatic building project in Jamaica Plain history was the elevation of the train line above grade in the 1890s.[18] In order to avoid accidents at street crossings, an embankment was built from Roxbury south through Forest HIlls station, with bridges over all intersecting streets. The embankment cut through most of Jamaica Plain from north to south. In time, the housing along the embankment came to be devalued, and property to the east of the train line was cut off from the

Neighborhood Activism; The 1970s And Beyond

Jamaica Plain has a rich and diverse history of neighborhood activism. In the early 1970s, the city of Boston planned to extend I-95 from Canton north into downtown Boston. This threatened to bring I-95 straight through the center of Jamaica Plain, essentially dividing the community in half if executed. Many protests along with support from residents of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Hyde Park, rallied to stop the construction of the highway. The most notable act of support came from a community festival that mustered residents from surrounding neighborhoods in opposition to the highway. The festival, first held in 1979, has continued to grow every year, and is now known as the Wake Up The Earth festival, held every first Saturday in the month of May and organized by Community Cultural center, Spontaneous Celebrations. The project had already demolished many houses and commercial buildings in the highway's path before then-Governor Francis W. Sargent ordered to stop the interstate project. It wasn't until the 1980s that the Southwest Corridor was built, creating a parkway, bike path, and site for future Wake Up The Earth festivals in lieu of the highway, now situated atop the underground Orange subway Line.
The Threat of Disinvestment; Redlining

By 1970, central Jamaica Plain was considered to be in a state of decline.[19] The intrusion of the Southwest Corridor coupled with and possibly contributing to a decision by Boston banks to cut back mortgage lending (redline) there began a cycle of disinvestment which led to the deterioration of the housing stock, slumlording and abandonment particularly in the central neighborhood along the edges of the corridor.[20] In some cases, homeowners who could not sell due to a lack of buyer financing simply walked away from older homes along the corridor's periphery. Urban Edge, founded as a non-profit real estate firm in 1974, found it necessary to recruit volunteer tenants to physically take possession of empty properties to prevent vandalism and arson.[21] Anecdotal evidence suggests that the average life span of an abandoned building was approximately one week. Windows were broken, copper plumbing was stripped out and buildings were torched.

In 1974 the community rallied and under the aegis of an Alinsky-style organizing project[22] funded by The Ecumenical Social Action Committee (ESAC) a coalition of local churches contracted with an experienced Rhode Island based community organizer, Richard W. Wise, who built a series of neighborhood groups and a coalition of leaders into The Jamaica Plain Banking and Mortgage Committee and working with groups from other Boston neighborhoods, leveraged that into the citywide Boston Anti-Redlining Coalition (BARC), The coalition, chaired by long-time neighborhood activist Edwina "Winky" Cloherty, crafted a unique and ultimately successful campaign to force Boston Banks to reveal their lending patterns and a "Greenlining campaign" to both stimulate residential investment in the neighborhood.[23] as well as to publicize and stop the redlining.[24][25]

After conducting a research project that documented a dramatic decrease in mortgage lending between 1968–1972, activists launched The Jamaica Plain Community Investment Plan. The plan called upon local citizens to pledge to move their savings accounts to a local institution that would guarantee to invest that money in mortgages within Jamaica Plain.[26] The plan eventually generated five hundred thousand dollars in pledges. In 1975 a contract was signed with the Jamaica Plain Cooperative Bank to implement the Community Investment plan.

In October 1974, the committee was also successful in securing a pledge from Gubernatorial candidate Michael Dukakis to require that state chartered banks disclose their lending patterns annually by zip code.[27] Upon his election, ignoring threats of litigation by the banks, Dukakis kept his word. On May 16, 1975, the new Banking Commissioner Carol S. Greenwald issued the first statewide mortgage disclosure regulation in the U.S.[28][29] Subsequent studies based on data obtained by the banking commissioner demonstrated that there was indeed a pattern of disinvestment in the central neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain.[30] Later that year,The Jamaica Plain Banking & Mortgage Committee together with its city-wide Boston Anti-Redlining Coalition (BARC) were part of a coalition under the leadership of the Chicago based National People's Action were instrumental in the passage of the Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.[31]

In the following years, real estate prices stabilized, mortgage money became available and The Southwest Corridor Coalition a task force of local citizens broken down by neighborhoods and aided by state officials, put together a comprehensive master plan to redevelop the corridor. They decided to remove the elevated rapid transit train line on Washington Street and replace it with a below-grade line alongside the train tracks. With the new transit lines in place following the old train embankment, the Southwest Corridor park was built from Forest Hills north through the old Stony Brook valley.
In the late 1980s, the Forest Hills Station shown here replaced the red brick structure built in the 1800s

Changes to the transit service through Jamaica Plain were followed with a change to the streetcar route as well. The Arborway line, which had been in service since 1903, had long been considered for replacement with bus service by the transportation authority. In 1977, trolley service on the Arborway line from downtown Boston was stopped at Heath Street, with buses continuing to Forest Hills. Service resumed, but were cut again in the 1980s, and has not been resumed since. This decision has been challenged by citizen groups in Jamaica Plain in the courts, and is still in dispute (see Green Line Controversy, below).

Urban renewal

The efforts of the Southwest Corridor Coalition, the Jamaica Plain Banking & Mortgage Committee's anti-redlining effort together with revitalization efforts led by Urban edge succeeded only too well. By 1980 the central neighborhood had been stabilized and disinvestment ceased to be a problem - indeed, gentrification had begun.[32] In the 1980s low rents brought many students to the area, especially those who attended the Museum School, Mass Art, and Northeastern University, who often lived in collective households. The neighborhood also developed a lesbian and gay community. The presence of artists in the neighborhood led to the opening of local galleries and bookstores, and arts centers such as the Jamaica Plain Arts Center,

Revitalization continued in the 1990s. Nonprofit housing groups bought rundown houses and vacant lots to create low-income rental units.[33][34] During the same years, the former Plant Shoe Factory site was redeveloped as JP Plaza, a strip mall, and later a supermarket. A new facility for the Martha Eliot Health Center completed the site's redevelopment. As part of a city-wide effort, Boston Main Streets districts were named (Hyde/Jackson Square, Egleston Square, and Centre/South), bringing city funds and tools of neighborhood revitalization to local business owners.

The elimination of redllining and the stabilization of the real estate market in the late 1970s and the redevelopment of the Southwest Corridor set the stage for gentrification that began in the 1990s. A hot real estate market has driven dramatic increases in the value of older homes in the Parkside, Pondside and Sumner HIlls neighborhoods and conversion of some larger residential properties and older commercial buildings into condominiums.

Notable people

Joshua Loring
(1716–1781) British Naval officer, Loyalist.
William Heath
(1737–1814) Farmer, political leader, Continental Army Major General
Francis Parkman
(1823–1892) Historian.

Sylvia Plath
(1932–1963) Poet, novelist, and short story writer

Jamaica Plain, often referred to in the 19th century as "the Eden of America," [1] is one of the greenest neighborhoods in the city of Boston. The community contains or is bordered by a number of jewels of the Emerald Necklace park system designed in the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted:

Olmsted Park
from Route 9 at the Riverway south to Perkins Street, including Leverett Pond, Willow Pond, and Ward's Pond
Jamaica Pond
has 60 acres (240,000 m2) of surface area and is the largest and deepest body of fresh water in Boston
Arnold Arboretum
is a 265-acre (1.1 km2) world-renowned plant collection maintained by Harvard University, and contains Peter's Hill, the highest elevation in Jamaica Plain at 235 feet (72 m).
Franklin Park
is a 527-acre (2.1 km2) park (the largest in the city) and holds the Franklin Park Zoo (the largest zoo in New England), White Stadium and the William J. Devine Golf Course.

These parks are connected by parkways, each of which is also part of the Emerald Necklace. From south to north these are the Arborway, the Jamaicaway, and the Riverway.

Forest Hills Cemetery, a 275-acre (1.1 km2) “garden cemetery”, and hundreds more acres of cemetery that stretch along Walk Hill Street offer more green space to the area.

The first European known to have settled in Forest Hills was Capt. Joseph Weld (ancestor of former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld), the youngest of three immigrant brothers from England and a veteran of the Pequot War of 1637. For his efforts in that conflict and subsequent negotiations, the leaders of Massachusetts Bay Colony awarded him 278 acres (1.1 km2) untamed in what is now the Forest Hills area of Jamaica Plain.

His descendant Col. Eleazer Weld, one of seven Weld family members who fought in the American Revolutionary War, bequeathed some of his land to fellow patriot Benjamin Bussey. His combined area was subsequently willed to Harvard University and become the basis for Arnold Arboretum.

In 1845, the Welds sold a large piece of land that would later become the Woodbourne area to William Minot, a fellow Yankee farmer. As the New England economy shifted from an agricultural base to a mercantile base, the Welds divided their land into smaller parcels for elite Bostonian friends and relatives. Some lived here year round; for others it was a rural retreat from Boston’s summer heat and seasonal cholera outbreaks.

The Weld family and families to whom they were connected—especially Guild, Minot, Perkins, Olney, Peters and Rodman—were associated with Jamaica Plain for generations. A number of local statesmen were drawn from these families, and many of them became wealthy or famous.

Richard Olney built what might be the first tennis court in Boston on what is now Patten Street. George Minot won a Nobel Prize. William Fletcher Weld (whose mother was a Minot) left behind a $20 million dollar fortune. Stephen Minot Weld, Jr. and George H. Perkins were Civil War heroes. Andrew James Peters (who married a Minot), became Mayor of Boston. A previous incarnation of Perkins School for the Blind stood atop Wachusett Street.

In the early 20th century, the arrival of public transportation brought increasing numbers of working-class people and rich Yankee families abandoned Forest Hills. Some returned to ancestral haunts on Beacon Hill or in Brookline. Others went farther south to Dedham or Westwood or even left the state entirely.