Cleveland Circle is a relatively densely-developed neighborhood that extends into both Boston and Brookline. The former is within the larger Brighton neighborhood of Boston. It is a lively area with street-level retail, restaurants, and cafes along Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue.
It was developed as an upscale enclave of Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle Style houses for affluent commuters. Cleveland Circle and Englewood were developed 1870-1950, while the other areas bordering Commonwealth Avenue in Allston and Brighton were developed 1910-1930.
The Cleveland Circle section of Brighton was developed as an upscale enclave of Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle Style houses for affluent commuters. Chestnut Hill Avenue was laid out in 1845, Beacon Street in 1850, and train service began in 1852. Cleveland Circle and Englewood were developed 1870-1950, while the other areas bordering Commonwealth Avenue in Allston and Brighton were developed 1910-1930.
Cleveland Circle is well-served by public transit, with access to the B, C, and D trains on the Green Line within the neighborhood. The western and center of the neighborhood are served by the Chestnut Hill Avenue and Chiswick Road (B train) stations, while the southern/eastern side of the neighborhood is served by the Cleveland Circle (C train) and Reservoir (D train) stops.
Cleveland Circle is a small section of the larger Brighton neighborhood, near the western edge of Boston.
To the west is the Brighton section of Chestnut Hill, to the south and east is the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, and to the north is the Abderdeen section of Brighton.
In 1630, the land comprising today's Brighton and Allston were part of Watertown. In 1634, the Massachusetts Bay colony transferred ownership of the land to Newtowne, later known as Cambridge. Brighton was known as Little Cambridge, and with the secession of Newton in 1688, was the only part of Cambridge south of the Charles River. In 1807, Brighton became an independent town, and was renamed after the English town of Brighton.
Colonial and revolutionary history
In 1646, the missionary John Eliot (c.1604-1690) establishing a "Praying Indian" village at the Brighton-Newton border, to convert native Americans to Christianity. Eliot edited the first book published in the North American colonies (the Bay Psalm Book, in 1640), founded the Roxbury Latin School in 1645, and translated the Bible into Algonquin in 1663.
In the 1700s, Little Cambridge became a prosperous farming community, with under 300 residents. Among these were Boston merchant Benjamin Faneuil (1702-1786), whose descendant Peter Faneuil (1700-1743), a merchant and slave trader, donated Faneuil Hall to the city of Boston. There is a certain awkwardness to the building known as "the Cradle of Liberty" having been financed with profits from Faneuil's slave trading. The family is also remembered in Faneuil Street in Brighton.
If you think Brighton on a Saturday night is a meat market now ... In 1775, a cattle market was established in Little Cambridge to supply the Continental Army, by father and son Jonathan Winship I and II. They arrived in Little Cambridge from Lexington on the eve of the Revolution, and secured purchasing contracts with almost all the farmers in the surrounding communities that they would purchase their cattle. After the cattle was sent to Little Cambridge, the animals were processed for the patriots at their Academy Hill Road slaughterhouse. General Washington, recognizing the importance of a well fed army, posted soldiers at the Winship warehouses to protect them against sabotage. By the war's end the Winships were the largest meat packers in Massachusetts and the richest family in Brighton.
By 1866, the town contained almost four dozen slaughterhouses, which were were consolidated into the Brighton Stock Yards and Brighton Abattoir. (If there were ever a name for a punk club in the neighborhood, that would be it. Just saying.).
From the 1780s to the 1820s, Brighton became a prosperous and progressive town center, and the town center was developed in the Federal style popular at this time. It was one of the important horticultural and cattle markets for the region. Much credit for the town's growth has been given to the Reverend John Foster: "Harvard trustee, gentleman, and aristocrat ... well-suited to the community he had been called to serve," according to a description in the late 1700s.
Every generation ever has had its 50 Shades of Grey. The Rev. Foster's wife Hannah was an interesting figure in her own right. She secretly wrote the most popular literary work in New England in the early 1800s: the controversial novel of seduction, The Coquette, or the History of Eliza Wharton. It was published under a pseudonym in 1797, and did not appear under her name until 1856, 16 years after her death. The book was based on the experiences of Reverend Foster's cousin, Eliza Whitman, became the most popular literary work in New England in the early 1800s."
The um, flowering, of Brighton's horticultural industry. During the 1820s and '30s, these new roads provided access to persons doing business with Brighton's thriving agricultural concerns. Eminent visitors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (whose poems likely didn't sell as well as Hannah Foster's scandalous book) and William Cullen Bryant traveled through Brighton Center on their way to the nurseries of Joseph L.L. Warren's Nonantum Vale Gardens, Jonathan Winship, and Joseph Breck. The decision of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture (MSPA) to locate its fairgrounds and exhibition hall permanently in Brighton enhanced the town's position as a horticultural center.
One of the earliest and largest agricultural fairs in the nation, the Brighton fair and Cattle show, was held in October of each year from 1817 to 1835. These fairs "embraced everything that could interest a farmer or be of benefit to agriculture; and in connection with them the importation of superior breeds of farm animals laid a firm and scientific base for the excellence which developed later.
But by 1835, competition from other fairs caused the Brighton Fair to cease operations. Little physical evidence of the vitality and importance of the fair remains within Brighton, with the exception of Agricultural Hall (356-360 Washington St.).
Until the 1860s, this area was one of the more remote sections of Brighton – and the area beyond it, Chestnut Hill, was still known as the Essex Colony, a cluster of rural estates at the very edge of _________.
At the end of the Civil War in 1865, work began on the Chestnut Hill Reservoir just to the west of Cleveland Circle. [and the waterworks buildings by some of the most prominent architects of the time, Stanford White and H H richardson ... similar in its way to the [sewer pumphouse in Columbia Point designed by ___________. [more than just infrastructure, it was a scenic __________]
When it ________ was completed in 1870, the area had a new visual focal point . But development was delayed by the recession of 1873. Aside from Chestnut Street (originally called Rockland Street) and Beacon Street, set out in 1843 and 1850, respectively, the oldest thoroughfares in this area are Englewood Avenue and Sutherland Road. Forming a great X-shaped street pattern, these streets were set out in 1872 and represent the antithesis of the meandering system of paths superimposed over this rugged terrain around 1890. Precluding house construction on these new streets was the financial panic of 1873.
The severe economic down turn of 1873 thwarted house construction in Boston and throughout the nation. Developers bided their time, building substantial residences in this area during the late 1880s and early l890s, until the recession of 1893 slowed residential construction throughout the Boston area.
By the 1880s, the electric streetcars on Beacon Street shortened the commute to downtown, and made the area desirable for development. The introduction of the electric street car to Commonwealth Avenue in 1909 triggered an apartment building construction boom along the entire length of this great boulevard.