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As one of the primary residential neighborhoods found in Boston, Roslindale is a great place to call home. However, if you live here or you’re thinking about relocating to Roslindale, you should probably understand some of the history of this great neighborhood.

Roslindale is bordered by Hyde Park, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury. It’s a very popular place to call home with many great attractions found nearby, such as Franklin Park and the Arnold Arboretum. Found just six miles from Downtown Boston, this incredible neighborhood is steeped in history.

Where it Began

It all started back in 1851 when Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain all seceded from Roxbury. Later in 1873, the area took a vote and decided to be annexed into the City of Boston.

This area of Boston was once, known as South Street Crossing throughout the 1860s. This was due to the railroad which intersected with South Street, but the name wasn’t accepted by the government when the community applied for a post office.

John Pierce suggested the name Roslindale because the area reminded him of an area in Scotland called Roslin. Pierce was a very well-traveled member of the community and Roslin, Scotland is a historic town found outside Edinburg. Pierce added the “dale” to the name due to the hills surrounding the area.

When the name “Roslindale” was submitted to the U.S. Postal Service, it became the formally established name for the area.

A Streetcar Suburb

Roslindale History

Roslindale didn’t really start to boom until it became a streetcar suburb of Boston. The railway wasn’t built until after the Civil War, but when it was, the growth of Roslindale boomed. The residential population really grew through the 1880s, especially with the introduction of the horse-drawn street railway service, which ran from Dedham to Forest Hills.

Tragedy Strikes

One of the most tragic events to ever happen in Roslindale happened on March 14th in 1887. A Boston & Province Railroad train was traveling inbound from Dedham to Boston over the bridge at Bussey Street. The bridge collapsed and the five cars in the rear piled up on each other. This tragedy killed 23 and injured more than 100. It was one of the first major rail tragedies in the country and led to a massive change in the way inspections were handled for train bridges across the country.

Roslindale Village is Born

The 1920s were booming for Roslindale and this was the era when the Roslindale Village was born. Adams Park took centers stage of the village and the area became very popular due to the many neighborhoods surrounding Roslindale.

In addition to the Roslindale Village area, Roslindale Square was known as a major shopping district before shopping malls became popular in the 1970s. It was filled with showrooms, food markets, department stores, and a movie theatre. However, the storefronts became vacant and were vandalized throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Today, Roslindale is a very diverse community and offers plenty for those looking for a historic neighborhood in Boston to call home. It’s a very popular residential area found in a great location for those looking to enjoy the best Boston has to offer.


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