Cleveland Circle, an area of Boston, Massachusetts, is located in Boston's Brighton neighborhood, and more specifically the Aberdeen section of Brighton, in very close proximity to Brookline and Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue.
Cleveland Circle is the commercial "town center" of Aberdeen, a residential area of apartment buildings and free-standing homes, populated primarily by working professionals of all ages, as well as seniors. The area also has student rentals inhabited primarily by students from nearby Boston College, but nevertheless, student renters are the smallest segment of the area's population.
This part of Brighton and Brookline are historical streetcar suburbs. The Cleveland Circle station is the terminal of the C branch of the MBTA's Green Line. Reservoir Station which is adjacent, is on the D branch of the Green Line. The B branch is a short walk away.
Chestnut Hill Avenue was laid out in 1845, and Beacon Street in 1850.
Boston and Worcester Railroad finished the Charles River Branch Railroad in 1852, bringing the spur from its main line in the Back Bay to Cleveland Circle and beyond. In 1888, this was extended to connect with the main line again at Riverside, creating a loop for trains to run outbound on the main line (near the present-day Massachusetts Turnpike) and return on the "Highland Branch". In 1952–3, ownership was transferred to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (predecessor to the MBTA) and the downtown connection was moved from an above-ground split just outbound of Kenmore Square to the Boylston Street Subway via the new Fenway Incline (just outbound of Kenmore Station). This created the rapid transit passenger service now known as the Green Line "D" Branch.
Construction on the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which consolidated the city's four smaller reservoirs, began at the end of the Civil War 1865 and was completed in 1870. Englewood Avenue and Sutherland Road were laid out in 1872, but the Panic of 1873 delayed development of the new streets. The addition of the West End Street Railway on Beacon Street in 1887 caused a construction boom in Brookline and Cleveland Circle, by making it easy for residents to commute into work in downtown Boston. The line was electrified in 1889 and in 1896 extended to Boston College (Lake Street) via Chestnut Hill Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. It now terminates at Cleveland Circle and is known as the Green Line "C" Branch.
The Commonwealth Avenue Street Railway also opened in 1896, extending rail service from Boston College to Norumbega Park (on the Charles River near present-day Route 128). This outer streetcar line was converted to bus service in 1930.
In 1900, the West End Street Railway, renamed the Boston Elevated Railway, laid tracks along Commonwealth Avenue from Chestnut Hill Avenue to its existing tracks at Packard's Corner. The new Commonwealth Avenue line, which was electrified in 1909, prompted another local building boom along its length until around 1930. The BER line is the predecessor of the present-day Green Line "B" Branch.
- The history of Cleveland Circle from the BAHS. Accessed 4 September 2006.