Brookline, Massachusetts From Presidents to Precedence

A town with a reputation for the elite, and nearest metropolitan neighbor to Boston, Brookline, Massachusetts is the birthplace of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, late night comedian Conan O’Brien, and the last home of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow.

An independent borough in Norfolk County, Brookline has fiercely strived to maintain its independence, even after an attempt early in its history to incorporate it into the city proper that was Boston. That independent streak extended into politics as well. Brookline residents were among the first in the country to propose extending the vote to women. Benjamin F. Butler, in his 1882 campaign for Governor, advocated the idea, which resulted in 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment.

These days, Brookline is attracting residents with its history, its green spaces, its prime location, and the special distinction that comes with boasting a Brookline address on your driver's license.

Playground for the Rich and Famous

Brookline got its name from the two small rivers that mark the northern and southern borders of the town.  A part of Greater Boston, Brookline borders six of Boston's most populous neighborhoods: Brighton, Allston, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. The city of Newton lies to the west of Brookline. As of the 2010 census, Brookline carried a population of approximately 58,732. First settled in 1638 as a hamlet known as Muddy River in Boston, Brookline itself was incorporated as a separate town in 1705.

In the 1870s, the city of Brighton merged with Boston and the Boston-Brookline border was redrawn to connect the Back Bay with Allston-Brighton. This effectively cut off Brookline from the shoreline. Twenty years later, another consolidation led to the Brookline-Boston annexation debate in 1873 that was eventually decided in Brookline's favor, granting it independence from the city of Boston, though it remained smack dab in the middle of it.


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