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Jamaica Plain At A Glance

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

JP as the locals call Jamaica Plain is a happening, hip area of Boston that used to be part of Roxbury until the mid 1800s. Its population brings a cultural blend to its many restaurants and neighborhoods. Here, we'll learn exactly what makes Jamaica Plain the place to be.

Yesterday And Today

First farmland and later becoming one of the earliest streetcar suburbs in the nation, JP is rich with history. The historic JP neighborhood has the Footlight Club, the oldest community theater in the United States and triple-decker houses from the late 1800s that set a new standard in urban architecture of the area. Redlining (not lending to certain areas) in the 1970s forced many homeowners out of JP and caused quick deterioration of its housing, but soon artists and students attending nearby colleges came in to enjoy the inexpensive rental prices. The 1990s saw the neighborhood rise once again with professionals, artists and political activists. These days, the JP real estate market is on fire. From its Puritan beginnings to later Irish, Italian and German immigrants to today's mix of Spanish speakers, young families, gays and lesbians, JP has reinvented itself without ignoring its past.

On The Town

Old brewery building, for which the area was once noted, are given new life as a hub for businesses or brand new breweries that are hoppin' hot spots for music and nightlife. Businesses at the intersection of Day and Centre streets in the Hyde Square district were recently given a facelift. Former factories were turned into strip malls, supermarkets or residences.

Eat With Gusto

With a large mix of ethnicities in JP, residents enjoy cuisines from Cuba, Cambodia, Thailand, Mexico, Ireland, Italy. Centre Street is an especially popular spot for foodies. Even with all the new restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries, patrons can still enjoy Doyle's Cafe, a local staple since 1882.

Nature Calls

Noted as the "Eden of America" in the 1800s, the neighborhood contains a large part of Boston's Emerald Necklace park system as designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Jamaica Pond, owned by the City of Boston for over 100 years, has 68 acres for boating and fishing. Olmsted Park, Franklin Park and Arnold Arboretum (run by Harvard University) are other places for neighbors to enjoy nature. Residents can get outside and bike, hike, walk, run and enjoy water sports in JP.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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