The Jamaica Plain Historical Society conducts tours of historic areas of Jamaica Plain each Saturday in July, beginning at 11:00 am, and lasting between 60 and 90 minutes. The tours are free, open to the public, and are canceled in case of heavy rain. No reservations are required – just meet the guide at the location listed below.
July 7 (also repeated August 25) – Sumner Hill. View a sumptuous sampling of 19th-century Victorian houses — one of the finest collections of “painted ladies” outside of San Francisco. The tour includes the ancestral home of the founder of the Dole Pineapple Company, as well as the homes of several early feminists and an anti-racism activist. Sumner Hill was designated a National Historic District in 1987. Leaves from Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St.
July 14 (also repeated September 1) – Stony Brook. Explore a fascinating industrial area at the geographic heart of Boston that includes 19th-century tannery and brewery buildings, the homes of early German settlers, and today’s Samuel Adams beer company. In the 1970s, a coalition of community groups joined together to block construction of the Southwest Expressway through Jamaica Plain and other Boston neighborhoods. Today, the Southwest Corridor Park that runs through the Stony Brook neighborhood stands as a testament to the power of community activism. Leaves from Stony Brook Orange Line T station.
July 21 (also repeated September 8) – Hyde Square. Learn about 1840s Hyde Square when German and Irish immigrants transformed the neighborhood with their businesses, schools, and institutions. See how in the early 1960s, Hyde Square changed again when Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican immigrants transformed it into Boston’s first predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. This tour also takes us to the home of Maud Cuney Hare, a prominent music historian and one of only two black women students at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1890. You will also learn about the property currently housing the MSPCA’s Angell Memorial animal hospital which was once the site of the Perkins School for the Blind. The tour will also walk through the Sunnyside neighborhood, the site of homes built by philanthropist Robert Treat Paine from 1889 to 1899 as a “worker’s utopia” for working families. Assemble in front of Sorella’s, 388 Centre St.
July 28 (also repeated September 15) – Green Street. Laid out in 1836, the street played a key role in Jamaica Plain’s development, functioning as a residential, commercial, and transportation conduit in the lives of the district’s residents. Although Green Street was subdivided as early as 1851 for stores, factories and houses, it was not extensively developed until the late 1870s with construction continuing until the early 1900s. The Bowditch School was completed in 1892, and early in the 20th century the United States Post Office moved from its location on Call Street at Woolsey Square to its new location at the corner of Green and Cheshire Streets. Leaves from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, 640 Centre St.
August 4 (also repeated September 22) – Woodbourne. This neighborhood developed from 19th-century summer estates into a model suburban enclave. It contains examples representative of New England architecture with designs by local architects and builders. It also contains an unusual garden city model housing development by the Boston Dwelling House Company celebrating the centennial of its founding in 2012. Leaves from Bethel AME church steps, corner of Walk Hill and Wachusett Sts.
August 11 (also repeated September 29) – Jamaica Pond. Once a gathering point for Boston’s elite, the Pond had previously been put to industrial use as tons of ice were harvested there each winter. Learn about the movers and shakers such as Francis Parkman who made their homes on the Pond’s shores. Discover how the Pond was transformed from private estates and warehouses into the parkland we know today. Leaves from the Bandstand, Pond St. and Jamaicaway.
For more information, visit www.jphs.org.