At first glance, the house at 197 Green Street is unique for its small size and the colorful graffiti that has covered its exterior since 2016 -- the result of collaboration between the owner and real estate developer City Realty Group and artists. City Realty Group is currently awaiting approval from the city to demolish the now-vacant house and build a four-story, mixed-use development. But if we look behind its 1950’s siding, and comb the historical record, we discover that the house is not, as it might first appear, an outdated structure. Rather, the house represents a significant period of time in the development of Jamaica Plain, and of Green Street in particular. 197 Green Street is likely the last remaining building on the east end of Green Street that was built at the start of the neighborhood’s transition from a rural landscape of farms and country estates to both a suburb for commuters and a home for middle-class residents who also worked locally.
A long time before cable networks, social media and the 24-hour news cycle colonial journalists presented news to the public in the pre-Revolutionary War era. On Tuesday, author and historian J.L. Bell will be at the Loring-Greenough House discussing how America's early news outlets worked in that volatile era and how it may relate to today's modern media landscape. Before the Revolutionary War there were numerous media outlets: The Boston Gazette and The Massachusetts Spy were to the left, The Boston News-Letter, The Boston Chronicle and Boston Weekly Post-Boy were to the right, and The Boston Evening-Post was a centrist newspaper. Back in those days the newspaper business got nasty through competitive rivalries and even got violence. The topic of America's Revolutionary is right in Bell's wheelhouse, as he specializes in "history, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts."
A plaque from 1976 proclaiming Jamaica Plain as the "Eden of America" will be reinstalled Wednesday at the Centre Street post office more than a decade after it was removed due to construction. The plaque will be reinstalled by the Bulfinch Company June 27 during a short ceremony starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Jamaica Plain Post Office (655 Centre St.). The plaque is the third in a series of bicentennial plaques that were reinstalled after being relocated in the last two years, said Gretchen Grozier, president of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society (JPHS). Many similar plaques were installed during the bicentennial in 1776 throughout Boston neighborhoods. The one by the post office was on the Myrtle Street side of the old post office and reads, "Jamaica Plain is the Eden of America."
Boston is recommending that Community Preservation Act funds be used for 35 projects across the city, including for affordable housing in Jamaica Plain. "The Community Preservation Act is a new tool that will help take our work on affordable housing, historic preservation and open space to the next level," said Mayor Marty Walsh via press release. "I am proud to recommend these important projects for funding approval, which represent a wide range of needs and will build strong neighborhoods throughout our city." The city previously called for applications for projects that require less than $500,00 to begin construction by this fall. The recommended projects were broken into several categories: historic preservation, affordable housing, recreational use and open space, and blended historic preservation/recreational use and open space.
Twenty-three years ago the then president of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, Rhea Becker, had an idea. Why not conduct a series of walking tours during the summer months as a way to highlight the rich history of JP for people? The JPHS has been conducting historic walking tours of Jamaica Plain tours ever since. From the four tours that debuted on the schedule in 1995, the offerings have now expanded to include seven different tours. Each tour lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.