Brookline Historical Society
Put On Your Walking Shoes & Step Into the Past
Fall Walking Tours

The Beaconsfield Terraces: "An Experiment in Domestic Economy"
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016, 10am – 11am
Meet: Star Market, 1717 Beacon Street, Brookline
Explore the Beaconsfield Terraces, on the south side of Beacon Street between Dean Road and Tappan Street, one of the more unusual developments to follow the creation of the Beacon Street boulevard in the 1880s. Built by Eugene Knapp, a wool merchant, in the early 1890s the terraces were a residential complex in which people owned their units but shared ownership of a 6-acre park, stables, a playhouse (known as the Casino), tennis courts, a playground, and a central heating plant. A bell system connected the houses to the stables so that people could call for their horse and carriage. Today, only the residential buildings (Richter, Frances, Marguerite, Fillmore, Gordon, and Parkman Terraces) remain. This free one-hour tour is presented by Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society. Approximate time and distance: 1 hour and 1 mile.

Blake Park: History of a Neighborhood
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016, 2pm – 3:30pm
Meet: Brookline High School, 115 Greenough Street
In 1880, banker Arthur Welland Blake engaged Frederick Law Olmsted to draw plans for the subdivision into roads and lots of the Blake family estate on the lower part of Brookline's Aspinwall Hill. Olmsted's plans were never executed, and the estate remained something of an anomaly; a large tract of open land renowned for its landscaping in the heart of a community rapidly developing as a "streetcar suburb". Learn how the neighborhood of "Blake Park" finally emerged — despite failed plans, untimely deaths, and financial scandal — four decades after it was first conceived. Approximate time and distance: 90 minutes and 1 mile .

150 Years of Shopping in Coolidge Corner
Led by: Ken Liss of the Brookline Historical Society
Dates: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 9am – 10am
Meet: Coolidge Corner Inbound T-Stop, Brookline, MA
Coolidge Corner was home to just one store—Coolidge & Brother—from the 1850s to the 1890s. Following the widening of Beacon Street in 1887-88 and the arrival of the S.S. Pierce store a few years later, a major new shopping district took root. Almost all of the existing buildings in this still thriving commercial area were built between 1890 and 1930. Journey back to the initial development of the Coolidge Corner business district and get a glimpse of local shopping in the early decades of the 20th Century. Approximate time and distance: 1 hour and 1/2 mile.
Please also note our self-guided tours of Brookline
Welcome to the Brookline Historical Society
The Brookline Historical Society is a non-profit community organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Brookline's diverse history. The society's headquarters are located in the heart of Coolidge Corner at the Edward Devotion House, one of Brookline's oldest colonial period structures. The Society also maintains the circa 1780 Widow Harris House as well as the Putterham School located in Larz Anderson Park. Our membership program is active and volunteers are welcome.
Brookline Village, Harvard Sq.

We invite you to browse our growing online collection of over 350 historic photos, postcards, atlases and more.
Virtual Walking Tour
Click to Start Tour
Brookline's rich history can now take a virtual walking tour of the town via our new online map. The map presents pictures and descriptions (with links for more information) about homes, commercial buildings, churches and synagogues, schools, neighborhoods, parks, and other parts of the town.

Most of the sites marked on the map are in Brookline Village, Coolidge Corner, Longwood, and the area around the First Parish Church and the old Village Green. Other sites and other areas of Brookline are being added, helping to bring to light stories behind familiar and not-so-familiar places in town.
President Ken Liss Blogs on Brookline Past & Present
Virginia Aiken, Teenage Dealer of Electric Cars
On Memorial Day in 1912 a parade of 125 electric cars and trucks made its way from Brookline Avenue through the Back Bay to downtown Boston. At the head of the parade, as she had been in a smaller procession the year before, was 17-year old Virginia E. Aiken of Brookline. Aiken was the niece of Day ... full blog at