Saturday, November 3, 2007

Jamaica Plains - 1829

John G. Hales 1829 (BPL)

This segment of the 1829 John G. Hales map shows the Jamaica Plains[sic] section of the Town of Roxbury. This is an important map because it shows Jamaica Plain right before the railroad was built through town. It's two hundred years after the first settlement of the area, and the roads are still few and far between. Names like Heath, Lowell and Perkins are there, as well as Amory, Williams, Greenough and Boylston. The Dedham Turnpike (Washington street) is distinctly marked, with a note for the Toll house at the future Forest Hills. Jamaica Pond is labeled as the Aqueduct Reservoir, and there's a Hotel shown at today's Hyde Square that I was not familiar with. Stony brook winds from Forest Hills north past between Parker Hill and Roxbury Highlands towards a Tidal Mill.

Also important is what's not there. No Greet street yet, or any other streets between Centre street and the Turnpike south of Boylston. No Seaverns, Harris or Greenough avenues, and no Child or Keyes (McBride) streets. Nothing between South and Centre streets, where the Arborway and Arboretum are now. Jamaica street, St Joseph and Custer streets are yet to come. This always makes me wonder, what was there at the time? Orchards, pasture, wood lots? We see the names of the rich and famous, but where are the farm laborers? Factories will be built later on Brookside avenue, Green street and Keyes street, but they don't exist yet. There must have been tanneries and other basic industries, but the map doesn't show them. No doubt there was more to Jamaica Plain than this map shows, but it's a great window into the time nevertheless.