|Neighborhood of Boston|
The First Congregational Church of Hyde Park
|Nickname(s): A Small Town in the City|
|Motto(s): Si Tentas Perfice (Latin)
"If you begin, finish"
|Incorporated||April 22, 1868|
|Annexed by Boston||January 1, 1912|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC−5)|
Hyde Park is the southernmost neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Hyde Park is home to a diverse range of people, housing types and social groups. It is an urban location with suburban characteristics. Hyde Park is covered by Boston Police Department District E-18 located in Cleary Square, and the Boston Fire Department station on Fairmount Avenue is the quarters of Ladder Company 28 & Engine Company 48. Boston EMS Ambulance Station 18 is located on Dana Avenue. Hyde Park also has a branch of the Boston Public Library.
The George Wright Golf Course, named for Baseball Hall of Fame and Boston Red Stockings shortstop George Wright, is in Hyde Park and Roslindale. The golf course is a Donald Ross-designed course and is considered one of his finest designs. Hyde Park has taken the motto "A Small Town in the City" because of its suburban feel. Hyde Park was the only town annexed by majority vote of the residents into the City of Boston. The area was established in the 1660s and grew into a hub of paper and cotton manufacturing in the eighteenth century. The extension of rail lines from Boston in the 1850s spurred the area's residential development. The Readville section of Hyde Park contained a large manufacturing base housing the massive operations of the B. F. Sturtevant Company and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Locomotive and Car Shops. Hyde Park and some of its residents have been important part of societal change in the United States. It was once home to the first all African-American army unit, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The regiment was made famous in the movie Glory. Hyde Park was home to the prominent abolitionists the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina, as well as Theodore Dwight Weld. Weld Hall in Hyde Park is named after Weld.
In 1845, retired businessman Henry Grew took his family on vacation to an area south of the City of Boston, in what was then the western section of Dorchester, and came to a spot in the Neponset River valley with an unexpectedly pleasant view of the nearby Blue Hills. He purchased several hundred acres of land there (which later became known as "Grew's Woods", partially preserved today as the Stony Brook Reservation and the George Wright Golf Course) and moved to the area in 1847. (Grew later served as chairman of the new Town of Hyde Park's first Board of Selectmen andwas one of its most prominent citizens.) During the next few years, a group called the Hyde Park Land Company bought about 200 acres of land in the area and began building houses around a small and unofficial passenger stop on the Boston and Providence Railroad that had developed at Kenny's Bridge, located on the road from Dedham to Milton Lower Mills (the road was River Street, and the station today is Hyde Park Station). At that time, the closest actual station was in the manufacturing district of Readville (formerly Low Plains) in Dedham.
Alpheus Perley Blake is considered the founder of Hyde Park. He was the organizer in 1856 of the Fairmount Land Company and the Twenty Associates, which developed the Fairmount Hill on the western side of Brush Hill Road in Milton. This led to the establishment of a bridge over the Neponset River and a new station on the New York and New England Railroad, which is today's Fairmount Station. In addition to Blake, The Twenty Associates included William E. Abbot, Amos Angell, Ira L. Benton, Enoch Blake, John Newton Brown, George W. Currier, Hypolitus Fisk, John C. French, David Higgins, John S. Hobbs, Samuel Salmon Mooney, William Nightingale, J. Wentworth Payson, Dwight B. Rich, Alphonso Robinson, William H. Seavey, Daniel Warren, and John Williams. Within a few years, the two land companies had merged and growth in the area accelerated. By 1867, the settlements had grown to the point where there were 6 railroad stations in the area. A formal petition was made to the General Court of the Commonwealth and, after settling land and boundary disputes with Dedham and Milton, the Town of Hyde Park was incorporated on April 22, 1868 in Norfolk County from the settled land in Dorchester (Grew's Woods and the Hyde Park Land Company development), Milton (Fairmount) and Dedham (Readville). It remained a part of Norfolk County until 1912, when the town voted in favor of annexation to the City of Boston in Suffolk County.
The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first official African-American units in the United States Army and which was commanded by Col. Robert G. Shaw and served during the Civil War, was assembled and trained at Camp Meigs in Readville.
In the 1960s, Hyde Park threatened to secede from Boston over plans to build a Southwest Expressway (Interstate 95) through the town along the route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which would bifurcate the neighborhood and displace many residents, as had happened in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. Hyde Park has also faced other challenges along with its fellow Boston neighborhoods, such as the busing crisis of the 1970s.
Hyde Park has had an active industrial history. For over 100 years, it was the main base of the Westinghouse Sturtevant Corporation. The Readville area was home to the Stop & Shop warehouse, until it was moved to Assonet in the early 2000s.
Hyde Park is home to many churches, most notably the Most Precious Blood, Saint Adalbert's and Saint Anne's Roman Catholic churches, and the Episcopal Parish of Christ Church (the oldest parish in Hyde Park, now Iglesia de San Juan), the latter of which was designed by the architectural form of Cram Wentworth & Goodhue and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Two important Hyde Park residents committed to social change and activism were sisters Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké. They played important public roles throughout their lives in ending slavery and promoting women's suffrage.
In the 1970s, desegregation busing of the Boston Public Schools caused an explosion in public activism. Public meetings and protests from concerned parents of affected children continued for years. The issue united Hyde Park with surrounding areas in an attempt to form a new school district for the purpose of avoiding desegregation. One Hyde Park resident, E. Gertrude Connelly, filed suit in U.S. District Court claiming the busing plan violated the Clean Air Act. Public tension over busing lasted for more than a decade.
Hyde Park is home to a large Haitian community that arrived from the troubled island during the 1980s and on into the 1990s. Immigrants from rural areas of Haiti had limited education beyond early elementary school years. As a result of a Federal lawsuit by parents from Hyde Park and other areas of the city, Boston Public Schools were mandated to provide a comprehensive literacy program. The Haitian Literacy Program has been housed at Hyde Park High School since 1989.
Hyde Park is currently under a major redevelopment effort by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan was adopted by BRA. As of yet, the plan has not met notable public resistance. Its aim is to change the zoning regulations in Hyde Park, with an emphasis on public transit and pedestrian use.
By the time Hyde Park was incorporated into the City of Boston, B.F. Sturtevant Co had a 20-acre industrial park in the Readville area. It became one of the largest fan manufacturing plants in the world. The plant employed 1,500 people in Hyde Park.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Hyde Park hosted harness racing. The site of the track was redeveloped on the former site of Camp Miegs. The Readville Trotting Park was neighbored by the large B.F.Sturtevant plant, thus prompting the installation of a railway station. The track migrated from horses to auto racing, which was the main atteaction at the track until its closure in 1937.[self-published source]
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Massachusetts Department of Public Works attempted to implement two separate interstate highway expansion projects. Both plans would have created a highway that would have passed through land in Hyde Park. The projects were started but, because of public opposition, were never finished. Interstate 695 and the Southwest Corridor would have run right though Hyde Park, effectively cutting it in half. Hyde Park residents considered seceding from the City of Boston. Residents from Hyde Park and other surrounding communities affected by the proposed project banded together and held a large protest on Boston Common, during what was called "People Before Highways Day". This rally proved to be crucial in having the plan stopped.
Because of the presence of the Stony Brook Reservation, a large part of Hyde Park's interior is effectively off-limits to any new development. The Stony Brook Reservation is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
In April 2008, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, along with Mayor Menino, voted to remap and rezone Hyde Park. Mayor Menino appointed an advisory group of 13 residents to assist the BRA in creating a comprehensive rezoning plan. After two years, with input from city agencies and the community at large, BRA adopted the Hyde Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan. BRA then went on to hire a team of consultants from the urban architecture and design firm of Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge. Articles and a new zoning map were prepared and presented to the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, which accepted it. The Boston Zoning Commission subsequently agreed to the plan in February 2012.
For the first 100 years or so after its founding, the inhabitants of Hyde Park consisted mostly of people with European heritage, the main ethnicities being Irish, Polish and Italian. Hyde Park has a significant number of individuals who are foreign-born. Non-citizens make up approximately 12% of the population, consisting primarily of Caribbean-born individuals. 38% of the total population speaks a language other than English. The latest census reports the current demographics breakdown to be as follows: African American 50.2%, Hispanic 19.7%, Non-Hispanic White 15.1%, Other Race 8.7%, Two or More Races 4.1, Asian 1.6%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.5%, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%. These two specific demographics, race and nationality, have remained largely unchanged over the last 20 years. A comparison of 2000 and 2010 census shows a 1% difference. The largest age demographic is individuals aged 39–54, who comprise 29% of the population. Hyde Park's elderly population has remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years, with the count hovering around 4,000, or 6.5% of the total. Hyde Park is home to roughly 7,000 school-aged children and has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in the city in the number of children. 39% of Hyde Park residents are married. Hyde Park's per capita income of appr. $28,000 is below the average for the US ($39,791). Conversely, the average household income of approximately $58,000 is higher than the US average ($50,223). The poverty rate for Hyde Park, reported as being 10%, is also below the national average (14%). These figures include 586 families.
Hyde Park's central business district, located between Cleary and Logan Squares, features a variety of historic buildings, including the neighborhood's municipal building, which was built by the City of Boston after the 1912 annexation. The Hyde Park YMCA was built in 1902; a major renovation of the original facility was completed in 2010. The Roman Catholic Most Precious Blood Church, built in the English Gothic style, was completed in 1885 (its spire was removed in 1954). The Parish of Christ Church, designed by the firm of Cram Wentworth & Goodhue in the late Gothic Revival style, was completed in 1895. The neighborhood library, a branch of the Boston Public Library since 1912, was built in 1899. In 2000, a contemporary addition by Schwartz/Silver Architects doubled the library's size. An opera house, built by Leroy J. French in 1897, stands on Fairmount Avenue and currently serves as the home of Hyde Park's Riverside Theatre Works.
Hyde Park has a large number of warehouses and factory buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Readville neighborhood, along the Neponset River and Mother Brook. The Fairmount Hill neighborhood has many houses built in a variety of late 19th and early 20th Century architectural styles, including Italianate, Gothic Revival and Victorian.
 A primary community resource is the BCYF Hyde Park Community Center. The community has been served for over 100 years by the center. It is housed in the former Hyde Park Municipal Building. The building was renovated in 2007 in order to accommodate more services and people. The Community Center provides diverse activities including adult education classes, senior citizen computer training and youth sports. Hyde Park is also home to one of Boston's two municipal golf courses. George Wright Golf Course is named after former Hyde Park resident and hall of fame baseball player George Wright. 11 parks and playgrounds are spread across Hyde Park as well as numerous open spaces. The Stony Brook Reservation is the largest containing over 400 acres of managed land and 10 miles of hiking paths.
The Hyde Park plaques decorate the area across the street from the Hyde Park Library. The bronze plaques commemorate special people and events of Hyde Park. They were created by Gregg Lefevre and installed in 2000 as part of an effort to provide glimpses of Hyde Park's history and culture. Riverside Theater Works is another community resource located in Hyde Park. It was originally created by Hyde Park resident and music teacher, Marietta Phinney. The live theater is located in 14,000 square foot facility and features a 156-seat opera house. Riverside Theater Works offers musical theater classes and serves the community by hosting recitals, meetings, fundraisers, and community gatherings. Hyde Park also has 16 playgrounds spread throughout the district including 5 baseball fields
Of the roughly 12,000 housing units in Hyde Park, 57% are owner-occupied. The number of rental units grew by 3% between 2000 and 2010. 6% of housing units are vacant, the vast majority of which are apartments. In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–08, Hyde Park experienced a large increases in the number of financially distressed properties. Some sections of Hyde Park experienced foreclosures at twice the rate os the rest of Boston, and triple what the rate had bern in 2006. Comparing 2011 and 2012, foreclosures dropped by 75% year over year. The Boston Housing Authority maintains one public housing complex called Fairmont. Consistingnof a total of 202 housing units, the Fairmont complex was built more than 40 years ago. The units are condo-styled and are offered primarily to low-income and elderly residents.
The cost of living in Hyde Park is very reasonable, especially for the amount of resources it has. Total crime rate is 3,888/100k, 9% higher than Boston, violent crimes 856/100k 9% higher than Boston, High school graduation rate 82%, employment median household is 61,656, 16% percent higher than Boston, median housing is 333,477, 11% percent lower than Boston, median rental rate 1,095 lower than Boston.
The Boston Public School system operates the public schools in Hyde Park. Public elementary and middle schools include the Henry S. Grew, the William E. Channing and the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 School. The Elihu Greenwood School & the William Barton Rogers Middle School were closed in 2015. A course-to-college high school now occupies the former Greenwood building.
Hyde Park has had a public high school since the early days of its township, housed in various locations, but the first proper high school building was completed in 1902 at Harvard Avenue and Everett Street; the building was expanded and held the now closed Rogers Middle School. The high school became part of the Boston Public School system following the town's annexation, and a new building was built in the 1920s at Central and Metropolitan Avenues. In 2005 the high school was re-designated the Hyde Park Education Complex, which housed three smaller high schools: the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH), The Engineering School, and the Social Justice Academy. The complex was shut down in 2011; both the Engineering School and the Social Justice Academy closed, and CASH was relocated to Dorchester. As of the 2012-3 school year, the complex is occupied by Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) and New Mission High School (NMHS).
Hyde Park is also home to the private school Boston Trinity Academy and New Beginnings Academy.
Boston Public Library operates the Hyde Park Branch Library, which won an AIA architectural prize. Groundbreaking for the Hyde Park Town Library occurred in December 1898; construction was completed and the building opened in September 1899. In 1912, the library became part of the Boston Public Library after Hyde Park was annexed by Boston. In 1997, ground was broken for an addition and renovation of the original portion of the facility. A grand reopening ceremony, attended by Mayor of Boston Thomas M. Menino, occurred in January 2000. The library received the 2006 Best Accessible Design Award in May of that year.
The MBTA Commuter Rail's Fairmount shuttle to Readville is Hyde Park's most direct connection with downtown Boston, servicing both the Fairmount and Readville stations. The Providence/Stoughton branch also stops at Hyde Park station in Cleary Square, and the Franklin branch has scheduled stops at all three stations, while servicing mainly the one at Readville. Additionally, several MBTA bus routes (numbers 24, 32, 33 and 50) through Cleary and Logan Squares provide connections to the Orange and Red Lines, at Forest Hills station in Jamaica Plain and Mattapan station in Mattapan respectively. Hyde Park has no subway stations.
Attractions are limited in Hyde Park, as it is a mainly residential neighborhood. One of the main attractions in Hyde Park is Ron's Ice Cream and Bowling, which offers corporate parties as well as birthday parties. There are several public parks and playgrounds in Hyde Park, such as Lacono Playground and Reservation Road Park. George Wright golf course is also located in Hyde Park. Neponset Valley Parkway also passes through the area.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Hyde Park.|
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