PUBLICATION OF THE BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1903, NO. 2.
BROOKLINE VILLAGE, 1865 TO 19021
FROM NOTES OF MARTIN KINGMAN, ESQ.
Interesting reminiscences of Brookline by Edward Atkinson, Esq., Charles H. Stearns, and others have in times past been printed in the Brookline Chronicle, which have prompted me to note down my recollections of Brookline Village from 1865 to the present time.
It is my purpose to confine my recollections to Washington street from the Roxbury line to the corners of Washington, Cypress, and School streets. This is not intended as a full history, as I am not an historian, but in my own way is a narration of my remembrance of that locality.
The construction of Riverdale Park occasioned the abandonment of Downer street, as it is remembered, to admit of a driveway to the Park, and May 8th, 1891, some thirty structures thereon were sold at public auction by Mr. McCormack for $ 11,000. They were mostly removed to new sites on the borders of Parker Hill, Pond avenue, and elsewhere, effecting a radical change in that locality.
The actual beginning of the Village as it was, one may say, was at the old tavern which stood on the northeast corner of Brookline avenue and Washington street, known as the Punch Bowl, the second of the name in town, and an important hostelry before the advent of the railroad. It is said to have had large patronage, from other liquids than water for those who refreshed themselves at its bar. It was standing in 1865, I am informed, and then occupied for a dwelling, but was later demolished to make way for the works of the Brookline Gas Light Company, under the superintendence of Mr. Freeman Sherman.
On the opposite side of Washington street was the Kimball farm, formerly Ward's farm. The house on the farm is still standing, though hidden from view of passers by a low block of stores in front, and has been used in recent years as a kindergarten school and day nursery for children. For many years that neighborhood was known as the "Punch Bowl Village." The gas company's plant, upon removal of the works to Brighton, was idle until the building on the corner was made into a bowling alley, and it is now again used for purposes of the company.
Next to the gas company's office stands the Downer-Griggs house, which has had many owners and occupants, but is now a dilapidated, vacant wreck, a reminder of the past. The adjoining estate was that of Edward Devotion, who removed thither from Harvard street, and died in the old house recently demolished, in 1744. For many years this has been known as the Lemuel Foster estate, upon which now stands Nagle's blacksmith shop. On the corner of Washington and Pearl streets, next to the Foster estate, stands the paint shop occupied many years by Benjamin F. Baker, Esq., our late Town Clerk and fellow-townsman, and still in use by Mr. Daniel Hunt as a paint shop. Other buildings on the right, as one moves along, remain much as they were in 1865, one of them being where the late John McCormack had his tailor shop and kept the post-office in the fifties.
The next building of importance is Lyceum Hall, built by the late Samuel A. Walker in the forties. Mr. Walker was a well-known real estate auctioneer in Brookline, whose poetic advertisements of real estate are probably remembered by older residents of the town. In its earlier days that hall was the scene of many a dance and festivity, but few of those who shared in them are left. Beth-horon Lodge of A. F. and A. M. held its meetings in the old hall from 1870 to the time of removal to the corner of Harvard and School streets. It was on and near this site, and northward to where the railroad now is, that the first Punch Bowl Tavern is said to have stood. Other old buildings stood in this vicinity in 1865, which were reminders of old bits of Portsmouth, Salem, and Marblehead. Nearby was Whitney's Hotel, afterwards Darrah's, later and now Morlock's hotel, bakery, and store. Further on towards the railroad was and still is Russell's Block, in which Marshall Russell, the owner, carried on his grocery in 1865. He was succeeded by Thomas T. Robinson, Grafton Richards, and now by Fay in the dry goods line. Brown Brothers, provision dealers, began business in that block some thirty years ago, and that business is continued by Colby Brown, son of Thomas S. Brown. In that block also is the kitchen-ware shop of Mr. Levien, while the floors above are occupied as tenements.
Farther on the decline towards the railroad was the dry goods and shoe store of Mrs. Dorothy, now the property of Peter Keiser, where he is located as a barber, he being the oldest established barber in the town. Near Mrs. Dorothy's stood a small wooden building belonging to Adam Halfenstein and occupied by him as a tailor shop, called" The Arcade." It was later moved to White place, and on its site at the corner of Fay place, was built Halfenstein's brick block, prior to widening the bridge and street in 1886. In one store of that block is the boot and shoe store of Edward McAvoy, and in the other a grocery which has had several proprietors, one having been Mr. Halfenstein's son. On the site of the Boynton brick block stood an old wooden building which had several owners, the last before its sale to Boynton, if memory serves me, being Mrs. Maloney. In the basement of that house, early in the sixties, Frederick A. and Theodore F. Corey opened a provision store, or meat market, said to have been the first of its kind in the town. Later L. M. Perry carried on his furniture and upholstery in that building, and J. H. Grush, up a flight of steps, had his barber shop and newspaper stand. Mr. Grush was a constable and an ardent temperance man, who, when not cutting hair or selling papers, kept his eye open to seize upon those who indulged too deeply in "tangle foot" and escort them to the lock-up in the basement of the old Town Hall.
Boynton's Block was erected after the bridge and street widening upon the site of the Mahony house, and the dry goods store in it, the largest in town, is now conducted by George F. Boynton & Co. George F. Boynton began business where Levien's store now is, I think, the firm name then being Martin & Boynton. After Mr. Martin's retirement the firm's name was changed to Boynton Brothers. Mr. A. M. Defriez, I remember, was in the dry goods business farther down the street. In the old days there was a row of wooden posts on the south side of the railroad tracks to prevent teams from driving across.
Let us now return to the Kimball farm on the west side of Washington street and note some of the changes that have occurred upon it and that side of the street since 1865. It was an open cultivated farm at that date, but is now intersected with streets and covered with dwellings. The old Barnard house, then occupied by Osavius Verney, whose wife was a Barnard, was sold some years since to Clement K. Fay, Esq., and was removed. John F. Fleming, the electrician, recently built upon the site a one-story wooden building, and removed thither from Harvard square. Farther on is a high board fence facing the street, on which are posted, in flaming colors, theater and other bills.
On the site of the old omnibus stables are Quinlan's and Driscoll's stables, the former of wood and the latter of brick, erected in the lifetime of the late James Driscoll, contractor, and now occupied by his son James, who succeeded to his business.
Between the Driscoll stable and Morss avenue stand several buildings, one of which is of brick of imposing appearance, built by the late Jeremiah Guilfoye a few years ago as an apartment house, with stores on the ground floor. On the site of the old Brookline House, kept by Aaron Whitney, now stands the picturesque office of the Jordan Coal Co. Next, and in the rear of the street, are the old station and stables of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, later the West End Street Railway Company, and now used as a riding academy. Here formerly stood the home of Miss Harriet Woods, writer of Brookline" Historical Sketches," a Brookline school teacher, and a writer of literary taste and ability.
Whyte's Block, built since 1865, harmonizes with old Brookline Village, having its row of stores, news stands, fruit and cigar shops, Chinese laundries, cobbler shops, etc. Some may remember, as does the writer, when Peter Keiser, the barber, had his shop in this block, at the beginning of his career, in town, and who later moved, to his shop opposite. There, too, Barlhelmes continued work as a barber until his removal to the corner of Harvard street and Aspinwall avenue. The engine arid hose company buildings of the fire department were built about 1870, at the time water was introduced into the town from Charles River. On the corner beyond stood the shop, then as now, of the "Village Blacksmith," Royal Woodward, an honest man and a right good fellow, who died in 1892. His successor, P. J. Burns, who was with Mr. Woodward, continues the business at the old stand. Upon the other corner of High street is the carriage shop of Mr. Michael W. Quinlan, known and respected far and near for good and faithful work.
Before crossing the street let us consider some of the changes that have taken place in the bridge, street, and streetcar travel. The greatest of all improvements has been the abolition of the liquor saloons that formerly cursed the lower village. The old car station was abandoned after the introduction of electric cars, and the new waiting room opened in Whyte's Block. Many may remember the veteran horse-car driver, Mr. William H. Bellows, whose age and infirmities caused him to resign his position after thirty-one years' service, in which he had traveled upon his car 570,175 miles, or more than twenty-two times the circumference of the earth, averaging but a few weeks off duty in all those years from illness or vacation. He survived but a few years after retirement, and his funeral car was a street-railway carriage decorated with flowers, and followed to his last resting place by a large number of street-railway employees. In the earlier years of this sketch the horse cars were drawn over the bridge every half-hour, to the corners of Washington and School streets and corners of Harvard and Washington streets, alternately. When interrupted with snow each car required four horses, and the time was lengthened to an hour each trip. The fares were ten cents each, or twelve coupon tickets for a dollar. To those who have seen the photographic views of the village as it appeared in 1865, looking from this point over the railroad bridge to Harvard square, this sketch will appear more intelligible. And those who have read "Brookline, a Favored Town," with its historical sketches and views, will better appreciate this feeble attempt of mine.
Across Boylston street from Whyte's Block and on the corner stands Guild's Block, of brick, in which was Guild's grocery store, kept by him for many years and until a few years before his death, in 1890, when he was succeeded by Francis H. Bacon, who died in 1898, when the business passed into the hands of the present proprietors, T. F. McMahon & Co.
Around the corner on Washington street is the bakery and bread store of Miss Julia Hayes, who has occupied her present place of business for the past thirty years or more, and is well known for her honesty, uprightness, and fair dealing. In that building in the first few years of this sketch, until his death in 1872, was Benjamin H. Crosby in the fish business, who was succeeded by George P. Johnson in the same line, the present occupant. In that block through all the years of this sketch has been the sign of Horace James, mason and contractor, a Selectman of the town for thirty-eight years, an honored man, and one confided in, both in official and business life. Up two flights of stairs, one winds his way to Goddard Hall, named for the late venerable Deacon Abijah W. Goddard, the apostle of temperance in the town. The upper story of this building was added by Mr. Guild in the late sixties for occupation of the Good Templars. The Bethany Sunday-school had its beginning in that hall, and in it the Presbyterian Church worshiped until the completion of their church on Prospect street. In that block, too, the Sullivans, plumbers, until recently had their office.
Next to the railroad and bridge is the old Webber house with its two stories or more of basement below the bridge, reminding one of an iceberg floating with its smallest part above water. In former days it reminded one somewhat of. the old Willey House, at the entrance to the Crawford Notch in the White Mountains. This old house has been occupied by various parties, at one time by the late James H. Murphy, the well-known shoemaker, who later located across the bridge at the corner of White place. He died in 1899.
The bridge at the time this narrative begins had two arches, one for the passage of trains and the other for entrance to White place. To enter White place from the bridge one descended a flight of wooden steps on the easterly side by the retaining wall, and thence through a driveway underneath leading from the station; but if by carriage, one went on to the beginning of the decline and down to the driveway under the bridge. The widening of the bridge in 1886 changed all this, making the entrance to White place directly from the bridge, with Halfenstein's tailor shop facing the street. Proceeding on from the bridge, on the left, we find the old . frame structure formerly known as "Mechanics' Block," but now called "Dun-Edin," for the old name of Edinburgh, Scotland, the native place of its former owner, Mr. John Panter. Different parties have occupied this building in the past, among them White, Mayo, and Paine, succeeded by Ruggles, Mayo, and Paine, and Mayo & Paine, plumbers. Mr. Henry K. Paine, a member of those firms, removed to a store on the east side of Harvard Square. Thomas Mahon, the plumber, has for a series of years had an office in that building, also Mr. Flatley and others.
The next place of prominence is the paint shop of the late James B. Hand, who died in 1900, leaving the establishment and business to his sons.
The brick building of Mr. Reuben A. Chace next claims attention. Mr. Chace was also a prominent house painter in town for many years, retiring a few years ago, and is still hale and hearty. For a while after his retirement his shop was occupied as a provision store, and later by the Johnson Fish Co., and at this writing by James H. Boody, painter, who was formerly a foreman for Mr. Chace.
Next in order is the store of Kenrick Brothers, established by their father, Mr. Alfred Kenrick, many years ago, in the tin, plumbing, and stove business. Mr. Kenrick, senior, died in 1884. He was a public-spirited man, and devoted much time to the town's welfare without seeking office. He was also devoted to temperance work, and was a good citizen. His sons continue the business, having added to it from time to time until, as the oldest of its kind in town, it is in its way a model establishment. At the time the bridge was widened their store was enlarged, a story added and the structure modernized.
The drug store of George W. Bird, who came to town in 1850, next claims our attention. He continued in business until July, 1886, when he was injured by a runaway horse, causing him to give up business, and probably hastened his death, which occurred in 1895. That line of business has been carried on at the old stand since the retirement of Mr. Bird by Young & Brown, now in the fine new brick block owned by the Bird estate, called "The Algonquin." Another store in that block is now occupied by Frederick E. Palmer, florist.
Let us now cross the street to the railroad station as it was in 1865, with its mourning drapery for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It was a long wooden building for passengers and store-house for freight, antiquated, but in harmony with its surroundings at that period. The Brookline branch of the Boston & Worcester Railroad ended at the Brookline station. Beyond it was the Boston, Hartford & Erie and Air line, now the Newton Circuit of the Boston & Albany. Hon. Ginery Twichell was president of the Boston & Worcester road. Cyrus W. Ruggles was station-master and postmaster, the post-office being located in the depot. There was a bell on the depot building that was rung five minutes before the departure of trains for Boston to warn passengers to be on hand. Abiel Smith, a lame man, attended the switches and had carriages in waiting near the station for the accommodation of passengers.
John Gibson, a popular conductor on the road, is remembered; also Andrew Winslow, the engineer, Mr. Andrews, the conductor, and Ginery Twichell Davis, the engineer, Moses Eastman, conductor, and James Alger, engineer. Everybody who rode on the train knew Moses Eastman, the genial conductor. We knew him when a driver on the Metropolitan horse cars, before the time when this sketch began, afterwards conductor on street cars, as brakeman on the Brookline Branch Railroad, and then as conductor, in which latter position he remained until his death in 1876. He was affable, kind, and known to all who traveled on the road and was familiarly called "Moses." His wife was Emeline C. Tolman, a young lady born and educated in Brookline, who recently read a paper before the Brookline Historical Society on "Muddy River or Colonial Brookline."
The old depot was replaced by the present one at the time of the bridge widening and moved farther east, and the post office was transferred to its present locality in Harvard Square. The grade of Washington street below the Square was raised to conform to the height of the new bridge and an incline was constructed from the 'same to the new depot. These improvements made changes in and about the bridge and Square. The passage under the bridge to White place was filled, and the retaining wall on the easterly side of the old bridge was hidden from view by the widening and is now remembered only by the older portions of the community. Between the old depot and Andem place until sometime in the late sixties or in the early seventies, was an open pasture, which is now covered with brick buildings. Of the three blocks in that row, the two upper were first built. In the lower block of Colonnade Row, next the station, in 1872, George F. Joyce & Co., began their career in Brookline. Mr. Joyce shortly after moved to Panter's Building, owned by John Panter, owner of the "Colonnade." Mr. George E. Everett, his partner, retired from the firm and he and Mr. Nash carried on the grocery business for a while at the corner, after which Nelson Brothers opened their store at that place. The hotel (landlord Perkins) had the next entrance and a dining room, which was later added to Nelson Brothers' store.
I can only recall a part of those who have been located in stores of these buildings. Edwin F. Crosby, the plumber, has occupied one for many years. There were also others who were shoe dealers, Faxon, Chaplin, Meggett, Fegan, and lastly McElroy Brothers. H. Frank Rice took a store in the center block soon after its completion and kept on sale a line of fancy goods, stationery, magazines, etc. He was followed in that store by Wing & Arthur, proprietors and publishers of the Brookline Chronicle, and then by Mr. Wing alone. Then followed John T. O'Day, who succeeded Mr. Grush in newspaper business in the Mahony house across the railroad. He extended the paper business in town, his sister being his assistant, and after his inability she conducted the business.
The O'Day's were succeeded by Miss Esther Pratt, afterwards Mrs. Cilley, who displayed business tact and extended that line of business, and continued therein for many years. She was succeeded by William D. Paine, who has farther extended the business and lately moved into larger and more convenient quarters next the drug store at the corner of Andem place.
In the middle block in the early seventies, George Turnbull, the tailor, was located, his being the first tailoring establishment of the kind in town. Edward W. Packard, previously of Burt & Packard, was located in this block during the eighties. Walter Martin, formerly of the firm of, Martin & Boynton, carried on the dry goods business in a store of this block for a short time, and was succeeded by Charles F. Lamb for some years, and then the business was continued for a period by George Defriez.
The Brookline Savings Bank was located in this block for awhile. E. E. Pierce, the baker and caterer, is now and has been located in the block for some years. On the completion of the upper block in the row, Charles Ladd opened a family drug store therein. Frank A. Newell occupied the corner store as a jeweler and silversmith, after which it was occupied by Charles D. Austin as a hardware store, then by George E. Everett in the same line, until the stock was sold and moved across the Square to the St. Andrew Building, and the business was there continued by Thomas J. Murray. William Butler next occupied the corner store of the block as a druggist; of more recent date others have occupied it. That has been a prominent place of business.
The Catholic Church was in Andem place until the erection of their new church on the corner of Harvard street and Linden place in 1882, and its congregation passed the corner going to and from the same. Rev. J. M. Finotti, the pastor, and his brother Chevalier G. M. Finotti, Vice-Consul for Italy, residents of the town, are well and favorably remembered by the older people. Where Rooney's shoe store now is, in 1865 the building was a boarding house kept by Mrs. Mecuen. Mr. James Rooney had it raised up one story and located his store in the lower part, he removing thither from Panter's Building. Mr. Rooney learned his trade of shoemaker in the town, of Mr. Tolman; he was a thrifty man and died respected in 1899. His son James C. Rooney continued the business after his father's death. In the other store in that building Mayo & Paine carried on business, removing thence from across the Square. For many years the firm, with changes in its name to Paine Brothers, (Mr. Isaac Paine, brother of Henry K. Paine, being taken in when Mr. Mayo went out,) have done business there. Mr James Rooney erected the brick block on the corner of the Square and Harrison place, now Kent street, about 1880, and after that the one-story building between it and Paine's store.
In the one-story building Henry Collins, provision dealer, was located until recently, when he was succeeded by Horace E. Smith, who was many years employed by Mr. Collins. In the brick block the late Alfred A. Cheney, watchmaker and jeweler, carried on business until his death in 189I. He first established himself in town, below the bridge, in 1862. After Mr. Cheney's death Charles W. Morse succeeded to the place and business, removing thither from the St. Andrew Building, where he had been located some years. The store on the corner of Harvard Square and Harrison place, now Kent street, was first occupied by a Mr. Hamilton in the dry goods business, and afterwards until the present time by Clarence A. Delano in the same line of business, in which he has been successful.
In Panter's Building between Harvard and Washington street facing Harvard Square, was located James Rooney in the boot and shoe business until his removal already spoken of. In the other store of the building Mrs. Ruth A. West kept a millinery establishment. She afterwards located in the building sold to Mr. Goldsmith, and by his heirs to the Brookline Savings Bank. After that she kept the boarding house on Kent street in the rear of the National Bank, then built a house on Stearns road where she resided several years, then removed to and died at the house of her daughter in Philadelphia in 1896.
In the store of the second floor of Panter's building E. S. Ritchie & Sons carried on the manufacture of philosophical instruments and marine spirit compasses. They removed from that locality in the seventies to their present place of business on Cypress street. Near that time the property was purchased by Mr. George F. Joyce, upon the ground floor of which he carried on the grocery business. After the removal of the Ritchies, the second story was and has been used by the Chronicle printing establishment and other smaller concerns. The attic was finished into a hall for concerts, dances and lodge purposes. On the lower floor on Harvard street, where the Chronicle office now is, was for years the drug store of Warren G. Currier. On the Harvard street corner is and has been since Mr. Joyce gave up business, the grocery of Frank F. Seamans, formerly with his brother James M., on the corner of Harvard square and Davis avenue. In the other half of the front, Collins & Dyer carried on the provision business, they being, except Brown Brothers, the oldest in that line in town. Collins & Dyer dissolved, Mr. Dyer retaining the store, and Mr. Collins, as we have already seen, opened in Rooney's one-story building on the east side of the Square.
The one-story building between Joyce's Building and the first Post Office was built in the seventies, and has been occupied by John Thompson and his son Nelson, in the furniture and upholstery business, to the present time. Where the post-office now is was another grocery, in 1865 or thereabouts carried on by Oliver and John E. Cousens, the former now in Maine and the latter now the well-known coal dealer. After they gave up, the business was continued by Hunting and Larnard. Next, the place was used as a post office when that was moved up from the railroad station. Cyrus W. Ruggles continued as postmaster until succeeded by the present superintendent, Mr. I. M. Fogerty. Over the post-office have resided Mr. George F. Joyce and others.
In looking down toward the bridge from Harvard Square one is made aware of the changes that have taken place in that locality since 1865, not only in the buildings, but in the persons that have occupied them. A few of the former are left, but the great majority are gone to other places, or to their final homes. One realizes by the review that the business movement has steadily been northward. He would also be reminded of the Brookline Cornet Band which played in and about the Square in the sixties and early seventies. Composing it were Henry Corey, Henry Collins Moses Jones, A. A. Cheney, Charles and William Trowbridge, Watts H. Bowker, Eugene E. Morse, and possibly others not now called to mind. Mr. Morse was the junior member and drummer boy. Mr. Cheney was instrumental in having flags displayed in and about the Square on patriotic occasions. For reasons not now known the Band played it last tune with its usual vigor, and then went out of existence.
Concrete sidewalks, brick-paved squares, electric railways, steam fire-engines, electric fire and police alarms, water hydrants and drinking fountains, all have been introduced with other improvements into the town since 1865. The bridge, Square, and Harvard and Washington streets have been widened; and Station street, Kent street and Davis avenue, leading into the Square, have been laid out and widened, giving to the locality a changed and improved aspect.
The building west of the post-office, known as the Savings Bank building until the bank removed to its new quarters farther up the street, has been occupied for offices by the Suburban newspaper, telegraph, real estate, jewelers, and tobacconist shops. The Panter estate adjoining, now owned and occupied by other parties, retains its rural features, trees, shrubbery and lawn, with which its former owner tastefully arranged it. Caledonia Cottage has been occupied for many years by Dr. Martha G. Champlin, and the other house on the lot by Mr. Woodberry, by the Assessors of the town, and by Mr. Riley of the Water Board. Next to the Panter estate is the furniture store of Robart Brothers, in the front lawn of the house built by Mr. Holbrook, a carpenter, who built the First Parish Church in 1848, and afterwards owned and occupied by Mr. Smith's son-in-law. In that house have resided Lyman B. Brooks, Dr. S. W. Sanford (who died there in 1875), and Dr. Ira B. Cushing. It is now owned and occupied by Mr. Robart.
On Holden street, in the rear of Robart's, is the house owned and occupied by Benjamin F . Hobart, until his removal to Boston in the seventies. Mr. Hobart was the omnibus driver between Brookline and Boston at the opening of the Brookline Branch Railroad, when he was made conductor on the Boston & Worcester railroad and later station-master at Boston until his death. Mr. Grafton W. Stone, the stable keeper, was the next occupant of the house until his death in 1879, when it was purchased by our townsman Willard Y. Gross, who still occupies it. Next to that house and near the Baptist Church is and has been the residence for many years of Reuben A. Chace, before mentioned.
The Town Hall in 1865, which stood upon the site of the present hall, afterwards moved across Prospect street and occupied as a Police Court and Police Station, and recently torn down, had been built twenty years, and the increase of the town had outgrown it. Within it was the Public Library with J. Emory Hoar, Librarian, and in it also was held the Police Court, presided over by Bradford Kingman, Esq. Benjamin F. Baker, Esq., was Town Clerk in that hall for twenty years or more of its existence and continued to be in the new hall to the time of his death in 1898. Mr. Moses Withington, whose memory is yet cherished, was Town Treasurer for many years in both the old and new halls, until succeeded by the present Treasurer, Mr. George H. Worthley. Mr. Withington died in 1891, leaving a name a synonym of honesty. Mr. James Bartlett, for so many years a Selectman and chairman of that board during the life of the old hall, ought not to be forgotten in a sketch of this kind. N or should the town meetings held in the old hall. They were battles fought between giants of those days, especially those in regard to annexation and the introduction of water into the town.
The chief speakers in those contests were Aspinwall, Benton, Griggs, Homer, Goddard, Humphrey, Carnes, Spencer, McCormack, Twichell and Wellman, all passed away; and Bowditch, Atkinson and Chandler, who still remain.
The present Town Hall was dedicated with imposing ceremony on Washington's Birthday, 1873, with an address by Robert C. Winthrop, LL.D. It is an imposing structure in its external appearance, but in other features a failure, though large and liberal appropriations were made to insure its success. From the first it was found that all else had been sacrificed to the grand hall, the acoustic properties of which have never been satisfactory, though many thousands of dollars have been spent trying to improve them. The lack of capacity in the building for the offices of the town was soon known and felt and it was only by additions and large expenditures recently made that those defects in a measure have been remedied.
On the Fourth of July, 1876, the centennial anniversary of the Republic was duly celebrated in the Town Hall by vote of the town, in which Wendell Phillips delivered an oration, and the ceremony of planting anniversary trees in front of the Hall was carried out under guidance and direction of William 1. Bowditch, Esq., the then chairman of the Board of Selectmen. After their planting, the school children of the town who ' had taken part in the exercises in the hall, marched around the trees, led by the chairman of the Selectmen, shown the trees and bade to remember that they were planted on July 4th, 1876, the hundredth anniversary of American independence.
The town since 1865 has increased from 4,000 to 22,000 people, and where it once had but a Board of Selectmen, Assessors and School Committee, it now has in addition a Water Board, a Town Engineer, Superintendent of Streets, Superintendent of Wires, Building Inspector, and other appointees, and a police force and fire department in proportion. Its old Chief of Police with nine patrolmen would make a sorry show in the Brookline of today. And yet, with all the changes that have taken place, some of them for the better, and others we may wish had not occurred, Brookline is acknowledged to be a favored town and the one most desirable for residence to be found in New England, if not in the land.
Returning to the west side of Washington street to the St. Andrew Building, built by John Panter on land purchased by him of Benjamin B. Davis, with lands on which stand "Davis Mansion" and the "McLeod," we will consider the changes as we move northward. There was a noble elm standing there and the old building that stood there gave way to the widening of Washington place which changed its name to Davis avenue. The old building was occupied by Collins & Dyer in the provision business at the beginning of Dyer's business career in the town. In that building, also, John Thompson began his furniture business, also E. A. Walleston, gas-fitter. The St. Andrew building took the place of the wooden building where now are Felix R. King's grocery and Charles E. Schmalz's barber shop. Until within a few years, E. F. Allen, the gas-fitter, had his shop and office in that building. His former place of business is now a fruit store. August Vogel, the caterer, commenced business in town in that block and there continued until he removed to Harvard street, opposite the Baptist church. Another caterer and ice cream dealer was located there before Mr. Vogel's time, Mr. Hankey .
On the corner of Washington place, now Davis avenue, and Washington street, is the oldest grocery in town, James M. Seamans & Co., who began business in 1848 below the bridge. In 1865 and for some years after, their store was a two-story wooden building, which gave way to the present brick block of four stories, built in 1889, their business occupying the ground floor and cellar. The successor of the firm is Manning Seamans, son of James M., who was brought up in the business with his father.
The building next in order with some alterations, is the same as in 1864, and was occupied by Martin Kingman, dry goods dealer. Mr. Kingman, in 1865, succeeded Edwin Field, the oldest dry goods merchant in town, who carried on business some eighteen years prior to that date in a small store in the lower story of Lyceum Hall. Mr. Field on leaving Brookline made his home in Newtonville, where he died ·in 1891. Mr. Kingman continued in business in that store until 1875, when he sold out to his assistant, Miss Elizabeth M. Swift, who continued the business for some years, but owing to close competition and failing health, retired and removed to Dansville, N. Y., where she died in 1897. The other part of the store has been occupied by different parties since Miss Swift's retirement and is now the office of Steverman & Gibbons, electricians, and the other half by Murray & Small, plumbers. The building is now owned by Manning Seamans.
Next to Kingman's store were the fine, terraced grounds with shrubs, shade and fruit trees fronting Washington street and also Washington place, with the old mansion house erected early in the century by Mr. Seth Thayer, whose wife was sister to Benjamin B. Davis, Esq. In that house Mrs. Eliza R. Fitts kept a girls' boarding school. After Mrs. Fitts gave up her school, the house was occupied for some years by Moses Eastman, conductor on the railroad, whose wife carried it on as a boarding house.
The beautiful rural aspect of the place was changed in the early seventies by the sale of the Washington street front and the erection thereon of buildings - changes that were perhaps inevitable but lamentable. Warren G. Currier, the druggist, in Panter's Building, Harvard street side, bought a lot, built the brick building now standing for a store and dwelling, into which he moved when completed. Mr. Currier, next to George W. Bird, was the most prominent and well known druggist of the town. His" Sunday School Class," so called, formed in the former store, followed him to the new location. It was a voluntary association of neighbors who met together to spend their evenings and leisure time, the life members of which were John Dustin, Justin Jones, Eben Morse, Thomas Pettingill and others, all of whom have passed away, as well as Mr. Currier, who died in 1891. The store has been sold to Mr. Kerr and has since been occupied by Metcalf Co., and other druggists, and at this writing is the temporary quarters of the Brookline National Bank during changes in its new building. Next to what was Currier's store is .' The Reubens," a brick block built and owned by Reuben A. Chace on land formerly of the Seth Thayer estate. In it the Brookline National Bank first had its quarters. Farther on, in 1865, were Mr. Panter's and Mr. Nathaniel Lyford's shops, carpenters and builders, both of whom have passed away. The places were later taken by younger men who had been in their employ, such as Davis Waterman, Willard H. Goodwin and others. Goodwin & Waterman were for some year s together in business in the seventies, then Goodwin carried on business alone, in the place later occupied by Lincoln I. Leighton, who afterwards moved farther up the street, making good the statement that the moves are all up street. Frank D. Field, of Field, Copeland & Crocker, who has had his field of operations in this locality for the past thirty years, should not be forgotten. In this section were located Harrison & Boody, and William I. Morrison, painters; but the veteran of the locality today is John Koch, the upholsterer and screen manufacturer.
A little farther on is the Goodspeed stable, large, well kept and a model. In the sixties this was a wooden building, the livery in it being carried on by Henry Whitney, then by Eben Morse, by Bowler & Metcalf, by Grafton W. Stone, and at the present time by Goodspeed. Next to the stable is the Robert S. Davis house, a landmark on the street and former home of that well-known book publisher. This house, except in tenants and color, has remained unchanged since 1865.
The brick block of dwellings next in line, built early in the seventies was an addition to the appearance of the street. Madam Nordica and Robert Treat Paine, the astronomer, resided for awhile in this block. It has been the office and home of Drs. Wesselhoeft, Cushing, Defriez, and Shirley C. Ingraham, dentist, who is the owner of the larger part of the block.
Next to this block is the picturesque one-story wooden building built a few years since by French & Bryant, civil engineers, and occupied as their office.
On the corner of Thayer street, formerly Thayer place, stands the cottage house formerly the home of Dr. Edward A. Wilde, who fought in the War of the Rebellion, lost an arm and was made a brigadier-general for bravery. In 1865, Jacob Palmer and family occupied it. Prior to 1870, Mr. Joshua Conant and family occupied the house and after his death, Nathaniel his son, continued some years its occupant. Since then it has been rented to Dr. F. F. Whittier, and now by Simon Daley. Other citizens of the town may remember the stately elm which stood at the corner of Thayer place, now Thayer street, and which was taken down at the time the place was widened and made a street, about 1881. Down that place was a fine view to the iron gate entrance to the estate of the late E. C. Emerson, the grounds now intersected by Waverly and Emerson streets.
On the northerly side of Washington and westerly side of Prospect streets stood the old Town Hall and three dwellings, all demolished within a few years, the three latter to make way for the new Court House and Police Station. Next are Chase's express stable and the dwellings of Messrs. Chase and Collins erected in the late sixties or early seventies. The ground on which those buildings stood was the property of Mr. Timothy Leeds, whose house stood there for many years, occupied after his time by the late Benjamin F . Baker, Esq., and was moved from thence to Pearl street about 1868, where it is still standing.
There was a high hill back from the street which was lowered, and on it was built in 1869 the present Public Library building, which has since received two or more additions. John E. Hoar continued Librarian in the new building until 1871 and was succeeded by Miss Mary A. Bean for twenty-two years, or until her death in 1893. The vacancy caused by Miss Bean's death was filled by the election of Mr. Charles K. Bolton, who resigned in 1898 and was succeeded by Mr. Hiller C. Wellman, who resigned in May last, to be succeeded by the present incumbent, Miss Louisa M. Hooper.
Adjoining the Public Library grounds is the John Gibbs estate, in appearance much the same as it was in 1865 and now occupied by his widow, he having died in 1892.
Upon the corner of Washington and School streets, now a part of the Gibbs estate, stood a small wooden building, long since removed, in which Charles W. Batchelder . had a provision store and the Brookline Savings Bank first opened for business in 1871, with Edward Atkinson, Esq., as president and the late Robert S. Littell as treasurer. In the second story Mr. Shields had his shop for the manufacture of anglers' supplies.
Let us now return to the corner of Thayer and Washington streets to the house owned and occupied by Mr. Martin Kingman, who has there resided since 1866.
Adjoining Mr. Kingman's estate was then the fire department of the town, in two old wooden structures in which were housed the Good Intent hose company and the Brookline engine, the "Tub," so called, which was drawn to and from fires by fifty or so volunteers, by ropes, and worked by hand. An alarm of fire was made by ringing the church bells, which caused the volunteers to assemble and drag away the old "Tub," follow by a concourse of boys and citizens. In 1871, the wooden buildings were removed and the present brick structure erected, and upon the introduction of Charles River water, the old" Tub" gave place to a steam fire-engine.
Next to the engine-house are the shop and houses of the O. B. Delano estate. Mr. Oliver B. Delano established himself here in 1866 and built his house some two years thereafter. He was one of Brookline's older carpenters, and a respectable citizen, who died in 1893. Some of those who were journeymen in his employ were George F. Johnson, Osavius Verney, and Willard Y. Gross. His sons still carryon the business he established.
Between Delano's and the Heath estate was vacant land, except the Charles L. Palmer house with carriage shop in rear. Mr. Palmer died in 1888 and the property is now owned by Mr. Boody.
Jonathan D. Long built his house next to the Palmer estate now owned by Robert Patterson, in the early eighties, moving to the locality from White place. Mr. Long was a carpenter and in the latter part of his life sexton of the Baptist church. He died in 1889. The front ground floor of the Patterson house has been changed into offices for W. D. Morrison, painter, and Field, Copeland & Crocker, carpenters, they having work-shops in the rear. Adjoining the Patterson estate is the house formerly occupied by Mr. Freeman Sherman, superintendent of the Gas Company's works in the lower village until his removal from town. For many years thereafter it was owned and occupied by Bradford Kingman and now by George Delano. We next come to the corner of Goodwin place, on which stands the handsome and convenient Brookline Savings Bank building recently built of stone. Down the place are the residences of Miss Whyte and Mr. Goodwin. On the other corner of the place is the residence of Mr. David H. Daniels, for many years principal of the Pierce Grammar School, later Superintendent of Schools, who has been retired since 1890. This house was built by Bradford Kingman, and was his residence prior to its acquisition by Mr. Daniels.
Mr. Kingman, besides being a lawyer, trial justice and historian, was prior to the advent of the Brookline:: Chronicle, proprietor and publisher of the Brookline Transcript newspaper in the latter part of the sixties and. early seventies.
In the house next to Mr. Daniels ?n 1865 lived William Heath and family, since which time it has been occupied by several families.
In the next house, now owned by Charles H. Stearns and occupied by the Aechtler family, lived in 1865 and for some years thereafter Mr. Charles T. Plimpton and family.
On the corner of Washington and Cypress streets was built, in 1795-96, the Tolman house, which is still standing and an ancient landmark in the town. Its owners from the time of its building down to 1861 were Jonas Tolman, cordwainer, and his heirs. In the later year it was sold to the president of your society and ten years or so later, by him to the late John Gibbs, and later by Mr. Gibbs, a part to the Methodist Society of the town, and the old house to Mr. Hill, the present owner.
Directly on the corner stood the Tolman shoemaker shop and shoe store, occupied for more than sixty years by the Tolmans, father and son, and in later years by George Echardt and Rupert Weinstein. The old shop gave place to the Methodist Chapel, erected in 1879, which was occupied by that society until 1892, when it was sold to the Universalist Society, which still owns and occupies it. The Methodist pastors in the Chapel were Rev. Mark Trafton, Rev. Mr. McDonald, Rev. Mr. Brodbeck and Rev. Mr. Twombley. Those of the Universalist Society have been Rev. Mr. Potterton, Rev. Mr. Biddle, and the present incumbent Rev. Mr. Gerrish.
The old Tolman house, now owned and occupied by Mr. Hill, has had many occupants since 1865, among whom have been Miss Harriet Woods, author of "Historical Sketches of Brookline," the Misses Elizabeth and Mary Peabody (the later became Mrs. Horace Mann, and they also at one time taught a select school therein), and Miss Rachel Cushing, who kept in it her school for girls and young ladies.
Here ends our sketch of changes along the lower half of Washington street, through Brookline Village since 1865, and with this startling statement, that of all the men of voting age that then resided upon it, for its entire length between the Roxbury and Brighton lines, two only are left, Thomas B. Griggs and Martin Kingman.