Brookline Historical Society
Upcoming Event: The Annual Spring Program
Trolley Town Hall Harvard Sq.
Brookline Village in the 19th Century
Sunday, February 25, 2018, 2:00 PM
Hunneman Hall, 2nd floor, Brookline Public Library
361 Washington Street, Brookline
Brookline Village Photos
Left to right: Trolley in front of the Colonnade buildings, 1930s; the 1873 Town Hall (demolished 1963); Brookline Village, 1905, with the intersections of Washington and Harvard Streets in the center.
The neighborhood of Brookline Village emerged as Brookline's municipal and commercial center in the mid-19th century after the construction of a new Town Hall and a branch of the Boston & Worcester Railroad in the 1840s. Join Historical Society President Ken Liss for a look at the origins of this historic neighborhood, including:
  • The commercial district along Washington and Harvard Streets, featuring brick buildings from the 1870s and earlier
  • The town’s civic center, site of three successive Town Halls, the public library (1869), the Pierce School (1855), and other municipal buildings.
  • The Lindens, one of the first planned residential developments in town (1840s)
  • Emerson Garden and the Elijah Emerson House on Davis Avenue (1846)
  • White Place, with one of the largest concentrations of vernacular architecture in Brookline
The program will be preceded by a brief annual meeting. Refreshments will be served at the end of the talk. Be sure to visit the Historical Society exhibit -- Faces & Places in Brookline Village -- on the main level of the library, on display through March 12th.
See Our New Display at the Library
Library displays
Throughout January and February, Places & Faces of Brookline Village will be featured in the display cases of the main branch of the Brookline Public Library (361 Washington St.). Eight posters of historic photos with accompanying stories show the evolution of the people and businesses of Brookline Village. There are several views and accounts of the Irish tenements on Brookline Ave. and the businesses of lower Washington St. that were entirely eliminated in the 1960s urban renewal project. Other photos show the evolution of the apex of Harvard St. and Washington St., "Harvard Square", from 1865 to today. Also detailed are close-ups of several former stores of the Village and their buildings as they exist today. Please drop by and go back in time!
Welcome to the Brookline Historical Society
The Brookline Historical Society is a non-profit community organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Brookline's diverse history. The society's headquarters are located in the heart of Coolidge Corner at the Edward Devotion House, one of Brookline's oldest colonial period structures. The Society also maintains the circa 1780 Widow Harris House as well as the Putterham School located in Larz Anderson Park. Our membership program is active and volunteers are welcome.
Brookline Village, Harvard Sq.

We invite you to browse our growing online collection of over 700 historic photos, postcards, atlases and more.
Virtual Walking Tour
Click to Start Tour
Brookline's rich history can now take a virtual walking tour of the town via our new online map. The map presents pictures and descriptions (with links for more information) about homes, commercial buildings, churches and synagogues, schools, neighborhoods, parks, and other parts of the town.

Most of the sites marked on the map are in Brookline Village, Coolidge Corner, Longwood, and the area around the First Parish Church and the old Village Green. Other sites and other areas of Brookline are being added, helping to bring to light stories behind familiar and not-so-familiar places in town.
President Ken Liss Blogs on Brookline Past & Present
An Echo of S.S. Pierce in Coolidge Corner
Like many people, I was curious — and a little concerned — in the summer of 2016 when Walgreens announced it was closing its store in the S.S. Pierce Building in Coolidge Corner.  What would take its place in the most recognizable of all buildings in Brookline, an iconic structure that has stood... full blog at