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.
Boston has an additional $20 million this year to fund affordable housing, parks, open space and historic preservation thanks to the Community Preservation Act. On April 3rd, the Jamaica Plain community is invited to a public forum to share their ideas on how to spend that money. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) organized and will lead the forum with a host of elected officials sponsoring the event and local organizations as co-sponsors. Boston adopted the Community Preservation Act (CPA) by voting in support of it in November 2016. More than 170 Massachusetts municipalities have adopted the CPA, according to the Community Preservation Coalition.
The Jamaica Plain Historical Society is one of my favorite Facebook pages. They have hundreds of photos posted depicting Jamaica Plain from as early as the 1800s. One of the best shows horse drawn buggies crawling along next to the pond – reminding us that JP was once known as the “Eden of America” for its rolling hills and vast green space. The area has seen a few changes since it was an epicenter for the Jamaica rum trade or a streetcar suburb. It’s changed since the anti-highway movement came together in the 60s to stop an eight-lane roadway from being built where we now see the Orange Line.
This Saturday the Jamaica Plain Historical Society is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emily Greene Balch, JP's only Nobel Peace Prize winner. January 8th will also be designated Emily Greene Balch Day in Jamaica Plain from a declaration and proclamation by City Councilor Matt O'Malley. Emily Greene Balch was born on January 8th, 1867 in Jamaica Plain. Balch's grandparents moved to JP in the 1820's and for more than 100 years and four generations, the Balch family were leading members of the First Church of Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist, said Balch biographer, Dr. Kristen Gwinn-Becker. In 1946, Balch became the second American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her visionary work with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Balch credited the church's Rev. Charles Fletcher Dole as a key inspiration in her work for peace and social justice, said Gwinn-Becker.
Students in Miss Roeske's music appreciation class at the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Located at the corner of Perkins and Day Streets in Hyde Square, the school was founded in 1887 and served children through age nine. For general instruction, students were segregated by sex. As you can see in the photograph, African-American children were welcomed. The school was an outgrowth of the Perkins Institution for the Blind in South Boston, founded by Samuel Gridley Howe.