Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

Working together, building community

While thousands of people live in Allston Brighton, the history of the neighborhoods is unknown to many. Why are the two neighborhoods grouped together? When did Allston Brighton become part of Boston? Where do their names come from? We are answering all these questions and more in our Allston Brighton historical spotlight! Thanks to the Brighton-Allston Historical Society for their assistance and research on this project.

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Allston Brighton has been through its fair share of changes over the past 200 years. When Allston Brighton was first founded, it was actually known as “Little Cambridge,” since from the 1630’s until 1807 it indeed was a part of Cambridge. When the Cambridge’s’ town government failed to repair the “Great Bridge” that linked the neighborhood to Harvard Square, residents made the decision to succeed from the city. In 1807, they won legislative approval and became their own town, naming themselves after Brighton, England.  In 1874, after a majority vote by the town’s population, Brighton was absorbed into the City of Boston in the hopes of benefitting from improved city and public services, along with an increase in residential home construction.

Brighton Ave, 1940

Another major change to the neighborhood came in 1868 when the federal government wanted to create a new post office in the area. The designation of Allston, named after the painter Washington Allston, was chosen for the area which made up the eastern section of Brighton and it evolved into the umbrella name used to describe the section of Brighton that now largely coincides with the 02134 area code.

To make it easier to understand, the western section of the neighborhood is Brighton and the eastern portion is Allston. Our Board member Charlie Vasiliades thinks of Allston Brighton as “sister neighborhoods from the same parent.” While Allston and Brighton both have distinct cultures and people, they make up one community in Boston that the ABCDC serves.

Make sure to check out the Brighton Allston Historical Society’s website for more information about the history of the neighborhood, at www.bahistory.org

Brighton Center, 1904

©Allston Brighton CDC | 18R Shepard Street, Suite 100 | Brighton, MA 02135 | p: 617.787.3874 | f: 617.787.0425