Brookline Historical Society
Put On Your Walking Shoes & Step Into the Past:
Fall Walking Tours

Brookline Village Walking Tour
When: Sunday, October 1, 2023, 10:00am -11:30am
Meet: The Village Works, 202 Washington Street, Brookline
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Distance: 1 1/2 mile
Brookline Village, Harvard Sq.
Brookline Village, circa 1915
The tour will begin and end at The Village Works, 202 Washington Street, in a 19th century building that began as the shop of a local house painter and has been a fish market, a hardware store, and a series of restaurants (including The Village Coach House and Davios).

Highlights will include:
  • Brookline’s earliest commercial center, featuring brick buildings from the 1870s
  • 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 town’s civic center, site of the Town Hall, the public library, the Pierce School, and other municipal buildings.

The Beaconsfield Terraces:
"An Experiment in Domestic Economy"

When: Sunday, October 8, 2023, 10:00am - 11:00am
Meet: Star Market, 1717 Beacon Street, Brookline
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Distance: 1 mile
Beaconsfield Terraces
The Beaconsfield Terraces, on the south side of Beacon Street from Dean Road to just beyond Tappan Street, were one of the more unusual developments to follow the creation of the Beacon Street boulevard in the 1880s. Built by Eugene Knapp, a wool merchant, in the early 1890s the terraces were a residential complex in which people owned their units but shared ownership of a 6-acre park, stables, a playhouse (known as the Casino), tennis courts, a playground, and a central heating plant.A bell system connected the houses to the stables so that people could call for their horse and carriage. Today, only the residential buildings (Richter, Frances, Marguerite, Fillmore, Gordon, Bernard, and Parkman Terraces) remain.

Learn more about the Beaconsfield Terraces in this one-hour walking tour led by Brookline Historical Society president Ken Liss.

Blake Park: History of a Neighborhood
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Date: Sunday, October 15, 2023, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Meet: Brookline High School, 115 Greenough Street
Distance: About one mile
Blake Map
In 1880, banker Arthur Welland Blake engaged Frederick Law Olmsted to draw plans for the subdivision into roads and lots of the Blake family estate on the lower part of Brookline's Aspinwall Hill. Olmsted's plans were never executed, and the estate remained something of an anomaly; a large tract of open land renowned for its landscaping in the heart of a community rapidly developing as a "streetcar suburb". Join Ken Liss from the Brookline Historical Society to learn how the neighborhood of "Blake Park" finally emerged — despite failed plans, untimely deaths, and financial scandal — four decades after it was first conceived.

The Early Development & Growth of Jewish Brookline
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Date: October 22, 2023, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Meet: Trader Joes, Coolidge Corner, 1317 Beacon Street
Distance: About 1.5 miles
Jewish Ads
A walking tour about the emergence of Jewish Brookline and its continued growth over subsequent decades.
President Ken Liss Blogs on Brookline Past & Present
Labor Day in Brookline, 1887-1888
Labor Day became a Federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making it official, but Brookline had been celebrating since 1887 when Massachusetts was one of four states to make it a state holiday. (That was one year after Oregon became the first.)...
Blog: This Week in Brookline
October 1st - October 7th

Sign: Curbside Recycling Begins October 1st
October 1, 1990

October 7, 1873 - Brookline rejects annexation
October 5, 1875 - Walnut Hills Cemetery dedicated
October 7, 1911 - Holtzer Cabot fire
October 1, 1990 - Town begins curbside recycling

October 7, 1873
Brookline rejects annexation

Brookline voters overw...

Our Latest Archive Additions
We are adding new historical photos weekly. Follow our latest additions here:
Blake Estate, Aspinwall Hill
Blake Estate, Aspinwall Hill
[Source: Digital Commonwealth]
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.