Linda Olson Pehlke is an author and also urban planner living in Brookline. The series "Places: Past and also Present" was initially commissioned by and also published in Our city Brookline magazine in 2005 and also appears here with the permission that its publisher and also the author.

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Chestnut Hill is identified by that is zip code and history. At one time considered far to Boston, the settlement very first formed about a train station, eventually establishing its identity as a community. Called by Francis Lee, who constructed the an initial country house in the area in the 1850"s, Chestnut Hill is in three different towns (Brighton, Brookline, and Newton) and two various counties (Norfolk and Middlesex). Favor other areas in Brookline, for instance Longwood and also Cottage Farm, Chestnut Hill began as a neighborhood for friends and also family that the original landowners. While that is currently surrounded by consistent suburban development, through a small imagination we can picture it as a remote outpost from Boston, appeal to wealthy professionals and businessmen seeking a nation retreat in a ar of peers.

Chestnut TreesSubstantial readjust had already altered the soil of Chestnut Hill a century prior to wealthy Bostonians set their sights ~ above a home in the country. By the mid 1700"s, the original landscape the meadows and also wetlands had been convert to large farms and woodlots in the property of a couple of prominent families. True to its name, a was standing of chestnut trees extended from Dunster Street to Reservoir Lane. A significant structure the the era, Richards Tavern, was developed in 1760 on heath Street close to Hammond. An evangelical revival group, the "New Lights", aided construct the building and also held their solutions there. The property consisted of a tollgate for the Worcester Turnpike, thereby capturing income native travelers.

Development Spurred through Rail Access

All-important accessibility from Boston, that important precursor to development, was amplified by rail and also trolley via the Chestnut Hill Railroad terminal in Newton, and also the Boston and Worcester trolley line on Boylston Street. In 1852, the Woonsocket branch of the brand-new York and new England Railroad extended a single track from Brookline through Newton center to Needham, and also began minimal service. The station was situated near come today"s Chestnut Hill MBTA station. Routinely scheduled train trips were easily accessible to the brand-new residents who were building their homes in a cluster around the station start in the 1880"s. A Boston & Albany railroad station designed by H.H. Richardson changed the original rail prevent in 1884. Sadly, the station with that is F. L. Olmsted design landscaping, was demolished in the 1960"s. The Boylston Street trolley line ran native Newton come Cypress Street and also opened in 1900. Quickly after this, a little commercial area developed approximately the intersection that Heath and Hammond Streets. Advertisement businesses still characterize this area today, and the Chestnut Hill town Alliance, who mission is to promote an accessible, livable and also functional Chestnut Hill Village, really hopes to construct on this historical land advancement pattern.

Because large parcels the land were sold and subdivided all at once, the communities of Chestnut Hill have actually a pleasing uniformity to them. Large, gracious dwellings were designed and also built in the styles famous at the rotate of the century, such as early american Revival, Tudor, and Shingle Style. They were then closely sited on big lots the were greatly wooded. There is a continually of styles, scale, setting, and materials amongst the dwellings that lends aesthetic cohesion come the neighborhood. The result is a pleasing balance between nature and the synthetic environment.

Architectural and Landscape DesignSeveral talented and prolific architects very first built their own homes and also then designed residences for clients in this country enclave. Herbert Jaques, a partner in the for sure of Andrews, Jaques, and Rantoul, built his home on Dunster Street. He then went ~ above to architecture many Chestnut Hill homes, including the Cox estate on heath Street, which was referred to as "Roughwood" once built, and also is now house to pine tree Manor College. Jaques" residence was freshly demolished come make method for the new Longyear Museum. Architect Horace Frazer, partner in the certain Chapman and Frazer, built his own residence at Heath and also Boylston Streets. His firm built much more homes in Brookline than any kind of other architect, including two dozen Chestnut Hill homes built between 1890 and also 1916. In enhancement to the sent utilization that the era"s prominent architecture styles, such as Tudor and also Shingle, the architects excelled at coming up with seemingly infinite variations that provided each house its own distinctive signature. If the residences are huge and gracious, they are not ostentatious, and also have a minimum the ornament, possessing a straightforward understatement that appears a an answer to their environment. Countless feature herbal materials together as stone and timber shingles, and also subdued planet colors are generally employed.


Prominent landscape developers put their note on the area as well, functioning on jobs that search to realize the recent trends and aesthetic ideals of their era. Holywood Cemetery, design by Shedd & Edson civil engineers, embodied the romantic, landscape cemetery in the mode of the revolutionary Mt. Auburn cemetery (1831). Frederick legislation Olmsted occurred a style for the Crafts roadway neighborhood, yet his plans were not used. One more desired see of the era was that of the golf course. The Chestnut Hill Golf Club and clubhouse were built in 1897, and were located where Fairway roadway is today. The floor of the golf course to be the last open lands occurred in the area, i m sorry is reflected in the loved one newness that the dwellings on Fairway and also adjoining streets.

New historic DistrictIn acknowledgement of its historically distinctive homes and the increasing threat come their continued existence, Brookline"s 2005 town Meeting vote to provide the Chestnut Hill phibìc Local historic District. Already detailed on the national Register of historic Places in 1983, the ar is bordered by the MBTA greenline top top the north and also Boylston Street top top the south. The north designation differentiates the merged residential ar from the area south of Boylston Street, through its large institutional uses and an ext dispersed development. The 112 properties had in the ar were developed primarily between 1880 and 1920. The fairly late development of Chestnut Hill reflects the beforehand perception that it to be remote and inaccessible to Boston.

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© 2005 Linda Olson Pehlke. All legal rights reserved. No component of this post may be reproduced in any form without prior created permission native the author.