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Roslindale At A Glance

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Six miles south by southwest of Boston lies Roslindale. More families and young professionals are moving into the area today and the main section of town is seeing a rebirth. Once called "the garden suburb of Boston," learn how Roslindale is a suburban area taking on younger residents and moving forward.

Brief History

Initially part of Roxbury to the west, the area separated off in 1851. Known as South Street Crossing because of the railroad's crossing on South Street, the government did not agree to that name when petitioned for its own post office district in 1860, the name Roslindale was agreed on from the Scottish town of Roslin and the fact that its hilly countryside reminded one notable community figure of a dale. In 1873 voters agreed to approve annexation by the City of Boston. Streetcars and the local railway made Roslindale a popular commuter suburb of Boston. Until the 1970s, many came to Roslindale Square for its noted department stores, movie theater and food establishments. After that, the square remained largely vacant for decades, but is now seeing a resurgence.

People and Neighborhoods

Roslindale's people are comprised of about half Whites, about 20% African American, 25 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders. Tucked in between several different towns, Roslindale's neighborhoods take on the characteristics of the abutting areas. For instance, one- and two-family homes on tree-lined streets make up the west near West Roxbury while two- and three-family residences with some light industrial similar to that in Jamaican Plain are found in the north. Today, many of its large colonial mansions are being converted into condominiums for the growing numbers of families and young professions moving into the area.

Getting Around

There are many forms of transportation in Roslindale. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has a commuter rail line and bus lines. In nearby Jamaica Plain, there is the MBTA Orange Line.


The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is located in both Roslindale and Jamaica Plain. Founded in 1872 when Harvard University became trustee of part of a large estate of whaling merchant James Arnold and combined it with an previously donated estate of merchant and scientific farmer Benjamin Bussey. The Arnold Arboretum is on 281 acres broken up into four land parcels with many pathways running throughout for hikers and bicyclists. A link in the famed Emerald Necklace (a chain of parks linked by roads and water in the Boston/Brookline area), the arboretum was designated a U.S. National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark in the mid 1960s

Public Art

Rosalind has a few art pieces in public view. Adams Park has the World War I granite statue by Gordon Carr and Star Pool glass mosaic by Be Allen that also incorporates historic pieces of Roslindale's past. The newest public art addition located in Rosalind Village is by George Greenamyer. Created of stainless steel and called "Traffic", it shows everyday town traffic. Local teenagers on the Mayor's Mural Crew created the colorful 288 Hyde Park Avenue acrylic mural in 2000.

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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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