Jump to content

Hyde Park, Boston

Coordinates: 42°15′20″N 71°07′28″W / 42.25556°N 71.12444°W / 42.25556; -71.12444
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hyde Park
The First Congregational Church of Hyde Park
The First Congregational Church of Hyde Park
Official seal of Hyde Park
A Small Town in the City
Si Tentas Perfice (Latin)
"If you begin, finish"
CountryUnited States
Neighborhood ofBoston
IncorporatedApril 22, 1868
Annexed by BostonJanuary 1, 1912
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code617/857
WebsiteOfficial website

Hyde Park is the southernmost neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States.[1] Situated 7.9 miles south of downtown Boston, it is home to a diverse range of people, housing types and social groups. It is an urban location with suburban characteristics.

Hyde Park is covered by Boston Police Department District E-18 located in Cleary Square, and the Boston Fire Department station on Fairmount Avenue is the quarters of Ladder Company 28 & Engine Company 48. Boston EMS Ambulance Station 18 is located on Dana Avenue. Hyde Park also has a branch of the Boston Public Library.

The George Wright Golf Course, named for Baseball Hall of Fame and Boston Red Stockings shortstop George Wright, is in Hyde Park and Roslindale. It is a Donald Ross–designed course and is considered one of his finest designs.

Hyde Park has taken the motto "A Small Town in the City" because of its suburban feel. The area was established in the 1660s and grew into a hub of paper and cotton manufacturing in the eighteenth century. The extension of rail lines from Boston in the 1850s spurred the area's residential development. The Readville section of Hyde Park contained a large manufacturing base housing the massive operations of the B. F. Sturtevant Company and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Locomotive and Car Shops.

Hyde Park and some of its residents have been important part of societal change in the United States. It was once home to the first all African-American army unit, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The regiment was made famous in the movie Glory. Hyde Park was home to the prominent abolitionists the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina, as well as Theodore Dwight Weld, for whom Weld Hall in Hyde Park is named.


Hyde Park is named after the park in England opened in 1637. [2]


In 1845, retired businessman Henry Grew took his family on vacation to an area south of the City of Boston, in what was then the western section of Dorchester, and came to a spot in the Neponset River valley with an unexpectedly pleasant view of the nearby Blue Hills. He purchased several hundred acres of land there (which later became known as "Grew's Woods", partially preserved today as the Stony Brook Reservation and the George Wright Golf Course) and moved to the area in 1847. (Grew later served as chairman of the new Town of Hyde Park's first board of selectmen and was one of its most prominent citizens.)[3] During the next few years, a group called the Hyde Park Land Company bought about 200 acres of land in the area and began building houses around a small and unofficial passenger stop on the Boston and Providence Railroad that had developed at Kenny's Bridge, located on the road from Dedham to Milton Lower Mills (the road was River Street, and the station today is Hyde Park Station). At that time, the closest actual station was in the manufacturing district of Readville (formerly Low Plains) in Dedham.

Alpheus Perley Blake is considered the founder of Hyde Park. He was the organizer in 1856 of the Fairmount Land Company and the Twenty Associates, which developed the Fairmount Hill on the western side of Brush Hill Road in Milton. This led to the establishment of a bridge over the Neponset River and a new station on the New York and New England Railroad, which is today's Fairmount Station. In addition to Blake, The Twenty Associates included William E. Abbot, Amos Angell, Ira L. Benton, Enoch Blake, John Newton Brown, George W. Currier, Hypolitus Fisk, John C. French, David Higgins, John S. Hobbs, Samuel Salmon Mooney, William Nightingale, J. Wentworth Payson, Dwight B. Rich, Alphonso Robinson, William H. Seavey, Daniel Warren, and John Williams. Within a few years, the two land companies had merged and growth in the area accelerated. By 1867, the settlements had grown to the point where there were 6 railroad stations in the area.[4] A formal petition was made to the General Court of the Commonwealth and, after settling land and boundary disputes with Dedham and Milton, the Town of Hyde Park was incorporated on April 22, 1868, in Norfolk County from the settled land in Dorchester (Grew's Woods and the Hyde Park Land Company development), Milton (Fairmount) and Dedham (Readville).[5] It remained a part of Norfolk County until 1912,[6] when the town voted in favor of annexation to the City of Boston in Suffolk County.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first official African-American units in the United States Army and which was commanded by Col. Robert G. Shaw and served during the Civil War, was assembled and trained at Camp Meigs in Readville.

In the 1960s, Hyde Park threatened to secede from Boston over plans to build a Southwest Expressway (Interstate 95) through the town along the route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which would bifurcate the neighborhood and displace many residents, as had happened in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.[7] Hyde Park has also faced other challenges along with its fellow Boston neighborhoods, such as the busing crisis of the 1970s.

Hyde Park has had an active industrial history. For over 100 years, it was the main base of the Westinghouse Sturtevant Corporation.[8] The Readville area was home to the Stop & Shop warehouse, until it was moved to Assonet in the early 2000s.

Hyde Park is home to many churches, most notably the Most Precious Blood, Saint Adalbert's and Saint Anne's Roman Catholic churches, and the Episcopal Parish of Christ Church (the oldest parish in Hyde Park, now Iglesia de San Juan), the latter of which was designed by the architectural form of Cram Wentworth & Goodhue and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9]

Hyde Park is also the original home of the Boston Crusaders, a world class drum and bugle corps founded in 1940 at the Most Precious Blood Parish.[10]

Community activism[edit]

Two important Hyde Park residents committed to social change and activism were sisters Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké. They played important public roles throughout their lives in ending slavery and promoting women's suffrage.[11]

In the 1970s, desegregation busing of the Boston Public Schools caused an explosion in public activism. Public meetings and protests from concerned parents of affected children continued for years. The issue united Hyde Park with surrounding areas in an attempt to form a new school district for the purpose of avoiding desegregation. Public tension over busing lasted for more than a decade.

Hyde Park is home to a large Haitian community that arrived from the island during the 1980s and on into the 1990s. Immigrants from rural areas of Haiti had limited education beyond early elementary school years. As a result of a Federal lawsuit by parents from Hyde Park and other areas of the city, Boston Public Schools were mandated to provide a comprehensive literacy program. The Haitian Literacy Program has been housed at Hyde Park High School since 1989.[12]

Hyde Park is currently under a major redevelopment effort by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan was adopted by BRA. As of yet, the plan has not met notable public resistance. Its aim is to change the zoning regulations in Hyde Park, with an emphasis on public transit and pedestrian use. Though, there is currently a proposal by non Hyde Park residents to create an urban farm that is receiving public resistance.[13]

Urban development and policies[edit]

By the time Hyde Park was incorporated into the City of Boston, B.F. Sturtevant Co had a 20-acre industrial park in the Readville area. It became one of the largest fan manufacturing plants in the world. The plant employed 1,500 people in Hyde Park.[14]

In the early part of the 20th century, Hyde Park hosted harness racing. The site of the track was redeveloped on the former site of Camp Miegs. The Readville Trotting Park was neighbored by the large B.F.Sturtevant plant, thus prompting the installation of a railway station. The track migrated from horses to auto racing, which was the main attraction at the track until its closure in 1937.[15][self-published source]

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Massachusetts Department of Public Works attempted to implement two separate interstate highway expansion projects. Both plans would have created a highway that would have passed through land in Hyde Park. The projects were started but, because of public opposition, were never finished. Interstate 695 and the Southwest Corridor would have run right though Hyde Park, effectively cutting it in half. Hyde Park residents considered seceding from the City of Boston. Residents from Hyde Park and other surrounding communities affected by the proposed project banded together and held a large protest on Boston Common, during what was called "People Before Highways Day". This rally proved to be crucial in having the plan stopped.[16]

Because of the presence of the Stony Brook Reservation, a large part of Hyde Park's interior is effectively off-limits to any new development. The Stony Brook Reservation is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.[17]

In April 2008, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, along with Mayor Menino, voted to remap and rezone Hyde Park. Mayor Menino appointed an advisory group of 13 residents to assist the BRA in creating a comprehensive rezoning plan. After two years, with input from city agencies and the community at large, BRA adopted the Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan. BRA then went on to hire a team of consultants from the urban architecture and design firm of Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge. Articles and a new zoning map were prepared and presented to the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, which accepted it. The Boston Zoning Commission subsequently agreed to the plan in February 2012.


Since the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the inhabitants of Hyde Park consisted mostly of people with European heritage, the main ethnicities being Irish and Polish. Italian immigrants and Italian-Americans eventually began settling in the area, especially in the Readville section. Hyde Park has a significant number of individuals who are foreign-born. Non-citizens make up approximately 10% of the population, consisting primarily of Caribbean-born individuals. 38% of the total population speaks a language other than English. The latest census reports the current demographics breakdown to be as follows: African American 49.49%, Hispanic 19.7%, Non-Hispanic White 33.39%, Other Race 11.34%, Two or More Races 3.46, Asian 1.7%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.5%, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%.[18] These two specific demographics, race and nationality, have remained largely unchanged over the last 20 years. A comparison of 2000 and 2010 census shows a 1% difference. The largest age demographic is individuals aged 39–54, who comprise 29% of the population. Hyde Park's elderly population has remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years, with the count hovering around 4,000, or 6.5% of the total. Hyde Park is home to roughly 7,000 school-aged children and has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in the city in the number of children. 39% of Hyde Park residents are married. Hyde Park's per capita income of appr. $32,224 is roughly average for the US ($33,706). Conversely, the average household income of approximately $89,815 is higher than the US average ($48,150). The poverty rate for Hyde Park, reported as being 10%, is also below the national average (14%). These figures include 586 families.[19]

Historic architecture[edit]

Hyde Park's central business district, located between Cleary and Logan Squares, features a variety of historic buildings, including the neighborhood's municipal building, which was built by the City of Boston after the 1912 annexation. The Hyde Park YMCA was built in 1902; a major renovation of the original facility was completed in 2010.[20] The Roman Catholic Most Precious Blood Church, built in the English Gothic style, was completed in 1885 (its spire was removed in 1954). The Parish of Christ Church, designed by the firm of Cram Wentworth & Goodhue in the late Gothic Revival style, was completed in 1895. The neighborhood library, a branch of the Boston Public Library since 1912, was built in 1899. In 2000, a contemporary addition by Schwartz/Silver Architects doubled the library's size.[21] An opera house, built by Leroy J. French in 1897, stands on Fairmount Avenue and currently serves as the home of Hyde Park's Riverside Theatre Works.[22]

Hyde Park has a large number of warehouses and factory buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Readville neighborhood, along the Neponset River and Mother Brook. The Fairmount Hill neighborhood has many houses built in a variety of late 19th and early 20th Century architectural styles, including Italianate, Gothic Revival and Victorian.[23]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The United States Postal Service operates the Hyde Park Post Office in Cleary Square, as well as the Readville Post Office in Wolcott Square.[24]

Hyde Park is represented in the Boston City Council by Ricardo Arroyo, who was elected in 2019.[25]

In the Massachusetts General Court, Hyde Park is represented by Representative Angelo Scaccia and Senator Mike Rush.

Nationally, Ayanna Pressley represents Hyde Park in the US House of Representatives.[26]

Community resources[edit]

The former Hyde Park Municipal Building, 1179 River Street

A primary community resource is the BCYF Hyde Park Community Center. The community has been served for over 100 years by the center. It is housed in the former Hyde Park Municipal Building. The building was renovated in 2007 in order to accommodate more services and people. The Community Center provides diverse activities including adult education classes, senior citizen computer training and youth sports.[27]

Hyde Park is also home to one of Boston's two municipal golf courses. George Wright Golf Course is named after former Hyde Park resident and hall of fame baseball player George Wright.

11 parks and playgrounds are spread across Hyde Park as well as numerous open spaces. The Stony Brook Reservation is the largest, containing over 400 acres of managed land and 10 miles of hiking paths.[28] Other public parks and playgrounds include Lacono Playground and Reservation Road Park.

The Hyde Park plaques decorate the area across the street from the Hyde Park Library. The bronze plaques commemorate special people and events of Hyde Park. They were created by Gregg Lefevre and installed in 2000 as part of an effort to provide glimpses of Hyde Park's history and culture.[29]

Riverside Theater Works was originally created by Hyde Park resident and music teacher, Marietta Phinney. The live theater is located in 14,000-square-foot facility and features a 156-seat opera house. Riverside Theater Works offers musical theater classes and serves the community by hosting recitals, meetings, fundraisers, and community gatherings.[30]


Of the roughly 12,000 housing units in Hyde Park, 60% are owner-occupied. The number of rental units grew by 3% between 2000 and 2010. Six percent of housing units are vacant, the vast majority of which are apartments.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–08, Hyde Park experienced a large increase in the number of financially distressed properties. Some sections of Hyde Park experienced foreclosures at twice the rate of the rest of Boston, and triple what the rate had been in 2006. Comparing 2011 and 2012, foreclosures dropped by 75% year over year.

The Boston Housing Authority maintains one public housing complex called Fairmont. Consisting of a total of 202 housing units, the Fairmont complex was built more than 40 years ago.[when?] The units are condo-styled and are offered primarily to low-income and elderly residents.


Hyde Park contains almost all the amenities of a city, but in a suburban environment. The cost of living is very reasonable, especially for the amount of resources it has. The total crime rate is 1,896/100k, 1% lower than Boston and 31% lower than the national average; violent crimes are 481/100k; the high school graduation rate is 83%; employment median household income is $71,112, 7% percent higher than Boston's; and median housing cost is $524,668, 3% percent lower than Boston as a whole.


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

The Boston Public School system operates the public schools in Hyde Park. Public elementary and middle schools include the Henry S. Grew, the William E. Channing[31] and the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School.[32] The Elihu Greenwood School & the William Barton Rogers Middle School were closed in 2015. Another Course to College high school now occupies the former Greenwood building.

Local public charter schools include Academy of the Pacific Rim,[33] Boston Preparatory Charter Public School,[34] and the Boston Renaissance Charter School.[35]

Hyde Park High School[edit]

Hyde Park has had a public high school since the early days of its township, housed in various locations, but the first proper building for Hyde Park High School was completed in 1902 at Harvard Avenue and Everett Street; the building was expanded and held the now closed Rogers Middle School. The high school became part of the Boston Public School system following the town's annexation, and a new building was built in the 1920s at Central and Metropolitan Avenues. In 2005 the high school was re-designated the Hyde Park Education Complex, which housed three smaller high schools: the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH),[36] The Engineering School,[37] and the Social Justice Academy.[38] The complex was shut down in 2011; both the Engineering School and the Social Justice Academy closed, and CASH was relocated to Dorchester. As of the 2012–13 school year, the complex is occupied by Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) and New Mission High School (NMHS).

Private schools[edit]

Hyde Park is home to the private school Boston Trinity Academy and New Beginnings Academy.

Higher education[edit]

Hyde Park is home to the private Boston Baptist College, located on Fairmount Hill.[39]

Former schools[edit]

  • The Engineering School
  • Elihu Greenwood Elementary School
  • Fairmount School (building now houses Boston Police Academy)
  • Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial School (building now houses Boston Trinity Academy)
  • Most Precious Blood Elementary School (building now houses Boston Preparatory Charter Public School)
  • Social Justice Academy
  • St. Anne's School (closed)
  • St. Pius X School (closed)
  • William Barton Rogers Middle School (closed)
  • Hyde Park High School (building now known as Hyde Park Education Complex)
  • Hyde Park Academy (closed)

Public libraries[edit]

Boston Public Library operates the Hyde Park Branch Library, which won an AIA architectural prize. Groundbreaking for the Hyde Park Town Library occurred in December 1898; construction was completed and the building opened in September 1899. In 1912, the library became part of the Boston Public Library after Hyde Park was annexed by Boston. In 1997, ground was broken for an addition and renovation of the original portion of the facility. A grand reopening ceremony, attended by Mayor of Boston Thomas M. Menino, was held in January 2000. The library received the 2006 Best Accessible Design Award in May of that year.[40]


Hyde Park is served by the MBTA Commuter Rail system at three stations: Hyde Park (Providence/Stoughton Line and Franklin/Foxboro Line), Fairmount (Fairmount Line), and Readville (Franklin/Foxboro Line and Fairmount Line). MBTA bus routes 24, 32, 33, 40 and 50 operate through Hyde Park; they connect to MBTA subway service at Forest Hills and Mattapan.

The privately owned Sumner Heights and Hazelwood Valley Railroad was operated experimentally around 1875 with a gauge of only 10 in (254 mm).

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boston's Neighborhoods: Hyde Park". Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "Hyde Park Timeline" (PDF). Hyde Park Historical Society. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  3. ^ "Hyde Park Historical Record". Internet Archive. 1892. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  4. ^ Hyde Park: Exploring Boston's Neighborhoods (PDF), City of Boston, retrieved 2011-08-19
  5. ^ "Memoerial Sketch of Hyde Park, Mass. for the first twenty years of its corporate existence". Internet Archive. 1888. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  6. ^ Lewis, Geoff; Avault, John; Vrabel, Jim (November 1999), History of Boston's Economy, Growth and Transition 1970–1998 (PDF), Boston, Massachusetts: Boston Redevelopment Authority, p. 31, archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-16
  7. ^ Southwest Expressway (I-95, unbuilt), BostonRoads.com, retrieved 2011-08-19
  8. ^ "Hyde Park, Massachusetts factory". Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  9. ^ "Parish of Christ Church/Iglesia de San Juan". Parish of Christ Church. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  10. ^ "Boston Crusaders". Boston Crusaders. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  11. ^ The Hyde Park Historical Record, Volumes 5-9. Hyde Park historical society. p. 17.
  12. ^ Catherine E. Walsh. "A Study of the Haitian Literacy Program at Hyde Park High School in Boston" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Hyde Park Planning and Rezoning". Boston Redevelopment Authority.
  14. ^ "B.F.Sturtevant History". B.F.Sturtevant Fan. Vincent Tocco.
  15. ^ Temple, Robert (2010). The History of Harness Racing in New England. pp. 17–20 – via Xlibris.
  16. ^ Wolff, Jeremy. "A Timeline of Boston School Desegregation, 1961-1985" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Stony Brook Reservation | Mass.gov". www.mass.gov.
  18. ^ Kelly Dowd. "Hyde Park Neighborhood 2010 Census". data.cityofboston.gov. Boston, Massachusetts: U.S. Census. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "2000-2010 Census Data". Data Boston.
  20. ^ "Hyde Park YMCA". Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  21. ^ "Locations | Boston Public Library". BiblioEvents.
  22. ^ "Riverside Theatre Works – Our Community. Our Theatre". rtwboston.org.
  23. ^ Hyde Park and Victorian Fairmount, Trails.com, archived from the original on 2012-10-17, retrieved 2011-08-19
  24. ^ "Post Office Location - Hyde Park Archived 2010-06-04 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  25. ^ "Boston City Council". City of Boston. 7 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Michael E. Capuano". Congressional website. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  27. ^ "BCYF Hyde Park Community Center". BCYF Hyde Park Community Center. 16 July 2016.
  28. ^ "City of Boston Golf". City of Boston.
  29. ^ "Hyde Park Plaques". Public Art in Boston.
  30. ^ "Riverside Theater Works History". Riverside Theater Works.
  31. ^ "William E. Channing Elementary School Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  32. ^ "Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  33. ^ "Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School". www.pacrim.org.
  34. ^ "Boston Prep | Top Public Charter Schools for Middle & High School". www.bostonprep.org.
  35. ^ "Home". Boston Renaissance Charter Public School.
  36. ^ "Community Academy of Science and Health Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  37. ^ "The Engineering School Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  38. ^ "Social Justice Academy Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  39. ^ "Boston Baptist College". Boston Baptist College.
  40. ^ "Hyde Park Branch Library." Boston Public Library. Retrieved on May 23, 2010.
  41. ^ "John Joseph Enneking Biography". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-03-26.

External links[edit]

42°15′20″N 71°07′28″W / 42.25556°N 71.12444°W / 42.25556; -71.12444