JPHS Presenting Play About JP Woman Who Was First to Graduate MIT with Architecture Degree

In 1891, a 23-year-old woman from Jamaica Plain won an architecture contest to design the Woman’s Building for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago -- and while that should have been the beginning of a great career for Sophia Hayden -- her life's story ended being quite harrowing. While doing research, a Jamaica Plain Historical Society member learned that Hayden was from Jamaica Plain, and was the first woman to get an architecture degree at MIT. "We thought her story deserved to be better known and we always do an event for Women's History Month," said JPHS President Gretchen Grozier. On March 12, there will be a reading of the play Sophia Hayden Deserves Better by Stephanie Alison Walker. It is a fictionalized version of her story for dramatic purposes.


What Do You Want to See In This Empty Centre Street Storefront?

Centre Street commercial spots don't stay empty for long. But this one at 753 Centre St., has been empty for almost three years. Optical Designs moved from the location in February 2020, and no other business has moved into this commercial location located across from Dunkin' at the corner of Centre and Thomas streets. So what would you like to see go in this location? If it's a restaurant, renovations would need to be made to create a kitchen.


There Are Still Gaslights in Jamaica Plain

Gaslights once lined most of the streets in Jamaica Plain. Originally, lamplighters went around to light them each night and then extinguish them in the morning. Later, gaslights became automated and the lamplighters were charged with maintaining all the lamps on their assigned routes - as explained in this article: The Old Lamplighter. In Jamaica Plain in 2021, we have just a few of these sentinels of the past left:
Burroughs Street - 3 lights can be found on Burroughs:
One is at the intersection with the Jamaicaway. One is at Regent Circle
One’s whereabouts is not known (possibly Agassiz Park?)

31 Jamaica Street
2 Paul Gore Terrace
Meehan Place (this street runs off of Green Street)
10 Union Avenue (rear)
Forest Hills Street - 2 lights can be found on Forest Hills St:
Two different types at #327 (the Pole Yard)
165 Allandale Street (two here!)
90 Allandale Street
Long-term JPHS member Sarah Freeman provided the list of gaslights, which she said JPHS' Michael Reiskind had provided by memory previously.


Jamaica Plain’s Gaggle of Civil War Streets

The Civil War Monument with its marble block inscribed with names, places and dates of the fallen, forms a solid outline of that war's events. The city of Boston reinforced the memory of the Civil War further when it lay out and named the streets in Jamaica Plain. Names focus on heroes of the war: the naval officer Porter, the general Sheridan, post-war president Andrew Johnson, Massachusetts war governor John Albion Andrew (also seen above an arch on the Monument), and perhaps, in a magnificent gesture, Southern commander-in-chief Robert E. Lee. The focus of our street names then shifts to battle areas of the Civil War that took place in The Carolina's including the city of Newbern, North Carolina. Of the 146,730 Black and White troops from Massachusetts (with 13,942 casualties) sent to the war under the zeal of governor John A. Andrew, 23 of those dead are memorialized on our Monument, three died in the Carolina campaigns.


Jamaica Plain Historical Society Neighborhood Walking Tours Begin May 14

Ever wonder about the history of Hyde Square, Green Street, or Stony Brook? Learn about those neighborhoods and other JP areas through the Jamaica Plain Historical Society's history walking tours series. This is 27th season of JPHS' historic walking tours. All tours are free to the public, and the series kicks of May 14 with a tour Monument Square. The tours are mostly on Saturdays at 11 am, although there are a few Sunday tours this summer.


History of 30 Carolina Avenue and 52 South Street

At the corner of South Street and Carolina Avenue in Jamaica Plain is a colorful court that hosts lively tennis, pickleball and basketball games throughout the week. Next door, at 30 Carolina Avenue, is a unique brick building and wooden stable that has housed the Penshorn Roofing Company since 1960 (figure 1). If we stand on that corner and turn back the clock over 170 years, we would visit a time of great transformation and growth for the city of Boston and a family that played a significant role in those changes. We would also learn the story of an entrepreneurial immigrant family and the tragedy they endured. Architecture of 30 Carolina Ave
30 Carolina Avenue is a one-and-a-half story Second Empire-style building.


Learn About The Industrial History of Green Street on Jan. 23

How many times have you walked down Green Street in Jamaica Plain? What was on Green Street 100 years ago? What was on Green Street in further back than a century ago? Learn about the industrial history of Green Street during a Jamaica Plain Historical Society virtual presentation on Jan. 23.


JP Artist Hinçman Discussing His New Public Art Installed Outside Library on Jan. 13

Do you want to know more about the new public art installation outside of Curtis Hall and the JP Branch Library? Jamaica Plain artist Matthew Hinçman will discuss his latest work commissioned for the city in a virtual January 13 presentation. Hinçman's newest public art installation is Wythe & Web, and has stirred up discussion in online groups. If you haven't seen it, or walked up to it yet, it appears like there are several beach chairs sitting in front of brick-based benches. But get closer, and those "beach chairs" or solid and permanently stuck in the ground.


The Greenough Family and the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party happened on December 16, 1773, and brothers David and John Greenough were embroiled in the controversy, and boycott of tea imported by the East India Company that led to the Boston Tea Party. Learn more about how the Boston Tea Party affected the Greenough family from a lecture by historian Peter Drummey. Drummey is a Jamaica Plain resident and Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society where the Greenough family papers are housed. The lecture was originally held at the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, and was sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. The following article is the text of the lecture, was originally published on Jamaica Plain Historical Society's website.


Jamaica Plain Has Been Called ‘Home’ By Five Boston Mayors

With Michelle Wu being elected as Boston mayor, we thought it would be interesting to look back at the mayors who called Jamaica Plain home. For the record, Wu currently lives one neighborhood over, in Roslindale. James Michael Curley
Many residents have stories about the house in the Curley era: clients who came to the door in the morning for help (as seen in the Curley novel, The Last Hurrah), the long line of mourners at the double funerals of his children, Mary and Leo, in 1950, and the famous people who visited 350 Jamaicaway over the years. The sale of the shamrock-shuttered home of James Michael Curley rightly drew the attention of a new generation to this legendary mayor’s long residence in our area. Though His Honor lived in the house from 1915 onwards, the second longest-serving mayor of Boston (16 years in all) did not die there.