Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Birth Of A Street

Walling, H.F. 1858. BPL

Prince street was one of the first to be added to the original Colonial Roxbury roads. Pond and Perkins streets, which it stretched between, are listed as being accepted in 1825, but both may have existed earlier. Prince street was cut through the property of Capt. John Prince on the edge of Jamaica Pond, and as such was one of the first properties in the section to be turned into a street lot with residences, a pattern that would be followed many times in the coming years. Jamaica Pond was already the home to gentlemen's estates, and the new street would allow the development of more.

The map segment above shows Prince street along the left side of the pond, 30 years after the petition shown below. The small squares are meant to show houses, but I wouldn't rely on their accuracy. Streets that most certainly should have houses on them show none.

Village Register and Norfolk County Advertiser June 12, 1828

To the County Commissioners for the County of Norfolk.

Respectfully represents, the Petition of the Subscribers, inhabitants of Jamaica Plain in Roxbury and its vicinity, and resident to the South of Jamaica Pond; that a new road or avenue leading from Jamaica Plain aforesaid to Brookline, is much wanted for the convenience of the inhabitants of that vicinity, and that an opportunity now presents, whereby the same may be obtained, at comparatively small expense -- inasmuch as John Prince Esq. through whose land the same will chiefly pass, is desirous to dispose of his estate, and will, we believe, willingly give the land, over which the same will pass, provided said contemplated road should be laid out in a direction, which he should designate, and of a width not exceeding two rods; that a new road beginning at a point on the Newton road, so called, on Jamaica Plain aforesaid, on said Prince's land, on the east side of his thorn hedge, being about six rods from his garden fence and summer house, and thence running northerly through the land of said Prince, and land of Mr Goddard, to the Brookline road which passes to the northward of said Pond, and terminating at a point on said Goddard's land, would shorten the distance probably one half between the respective Meeting House in Jamaica Plain and Brookline, thereby reducing very materially the distance between the towns in the southerly part of said County of Norfolk, and the town of Brighton in the County of Middlesex, a place of much resort on business, for the inhabitants residing in the Southern Section of our County; that an instance rarely presents of an equal saving in an equal distance; that said road will not be difficult to work and may be considered of common convenience and necessity:

They therefore pray that the route for said road may be viewed; the road located and made, and the expense thereof apportioned according to law, and as the judgement of said Commissioners may seem meet.

Roxbury, April 23, 1828.

David S. Greenough, Seth P. Whiting,
Joseph Curtis, Benjamin Weld,
William Winchester, Amos Holbrook,
Nathaniel Curtis, John James,
John Lowell, Ebenezer Sever, Jr.
Thomas B. Adams, John H. Davis,
Thomas Greenleaf, Michael Whittemore, Jr.
Benjamin P. Williams, Abner Childs,
Paul Gore, Joseph Arnold,
Joshua Seaver, Abijah Draper,

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Norfolk, ss.

At a meeting of the County Commissioners for said County, May 13, 1828.

Upon the foregoing petition, the Commissioners give notice that they will meet at the house of John Prince, Esquire, in Roxbury, on Monday the twenty third day of June next, at ten o'clock A.M. and thence proceed to view the route over which said road is prayed for. And it is thereupon ordered, that the Petitioners cause an attested copy of their said petition with this notice and order thereon, to be served upon the Clerk of the town of Roxbury thirty days before the time appointed for said view, and also cause a like copy to be published three weeks successively in the Village Register, published in Dedham, the last publication to be fourteen days at least before said view, and also to post up in two or more public places in said Roxbury, like copies at least fourteen days prior to said view, that all persons and corporations interested for or against said Petition, may then and there appear and be heard as they see fit.

Jarius Ware, Clerk.

A true copy of the original petition on file, and order thereon. Attest,

Jarius Ware, Clerk.

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