Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Real Estate - 1874

The following excerpt is taken from a short Real Estate article. The Globe was a big booster of real estate at the time, and the enthusiasm here is laid on pretty thick. No mention of "affordable housing" yet.

Boston Daily Globe May 12, 1874

There are few places in the near suburbs which possess so many attractions, both in point of location and from accommodations for trade with which it is furnished, as the West Roxbury District. By the annexation of this large tract of land the territory of Boston has been increased by about 6000 acres, and a cursory glance at the district will clearly demonstrate the fact that it embraces within its limits some of the most picturesque and beautiful spots in our suburban or outlying city limits. Taking the three principal stations in the district, Boylston, Jamaica Plain and Forest Hills, it will be found that there are twenty-six trains passing each way which stop at these places for the accommodation of passengers, the first train leaving Boston at 6:55 a.m., and the last at 11:15 p.m., while those returning leave at 6:27 a.m. and 10:17 p.m., with three Sunday trains each way. Besides these, a line of horse-cars runs from the Tremont House to Jamaica Plain every half-hour, so that every facility for reaching Boston or returning is afforded thouse who live in that neighborhood.

There has been little change in the real estate market by the annexation of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, as it will only be when water shall have been introduced and sewers built that the effects can be really and sensibly felt. Building is carried on in about the same manner as last year, the only section which shows an noticeable activity being that portion of the new ward called Boylston. Here a number of moderate sized houses have been erected within the last year, and they are speedily occupied as soon as completed. Land in Ward XVII varies in price according to location, and the figures quoted range from twenty cents to $2.50 per foot. In the vicinity of the Green street station lots have been bought a few years ago for twelve and one half to fifteen cents. On Greenough avenue 21,000 feet have been sold for eighty-five cents, and the prices all through that section vary from fifty to eighty-five cents and $1. Land for business purposes around the depot and on Centre street sells for $1.73 and there is not much of it in the market. The Boston and Providence Railroad Company paid over $5 for some few particular lots but this cannot be cited as an index to the value of property, as the parcels in question were particularly valuable and could not be purchased except for a large sum. Residences vary in price from $3000 to $23,000, but there are scarcely any for sale. Around Boylston station land is worth from forty to eighty cents per foot and the houses which have been erected are offered from $5000 to $10,000.

A tract of land containing about twenty-four acres, and called Spring Park, was purchased by Mr. George H. Williams and cut up into building lots, which were put in the market at from twenty-five to fifty cents per foot. Houses have been built which range from $7000 to $10,000, and street built up and graded so that what was a few years ago a waste tract of land will soon be a prosperous and busy settlement. Towards Forest Hills land is quoted at from twenty to forty cents, and Mr. Alden Bartlett, the auctioneer, owns a large estate which he holds at twenty-five cents per foot. there is not much activity in building in this section, and owners of large estates show a disposition to hold over, in anticipation of large advances in prices when the street improvements shall have been completed and Cochichuate water introduced. There is evidence of a feeling that real estated matters in the new district will be marked by a degree of unusual liveliness during the present year. We would expect this from the number of advantages which it possesses, it being unquestionably one of the most desirable of our lately acquired territories.

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