the Information on These Pages
“The Houses &
People of Blake Park” presents information about the 115 or
so houses that lie within the boundaries of the old Blake estate
-- AND about the people who lived in those houses up until the end
of World War II.
Each house has its own
page (or two pages for those few houses with more than one address.)
You can navigate to these pages from the street directory at left,
which lists them alphabetically by street and then by the number
of each house. Or, starting with any one address, you can move and
back and forth one house at a time through the entire list.
(The last numbered house
on one street connects to the first numbered house on the next street,
with the streets arranged alphabetically rather than geographically:
Gardner to Greenough to Hancock, etc.)
More than 90% of the
houses in this neighborhood were built between 1920 and 1941 during
the two phases of the development of Blake Park. Another six houses
existed prior to 1920, and three others were added to the neighborhood
in the 1950s.
about each house includes (as available):
it was built
built it, designed it, and owned it. (The owner listed on the
building permit was not necessarily the first occupant.)
it cost to build
Most of this information
was obtained from building permits and other information available
from the Town of Brookline Building Department. Additional details
were gleaned from old maps, real estate ads, and other documents.
There is a thumbnail
picture of each house on its page. Click on the picture for a larger
view. (Thumbnails and larger pictures are from the online Town of
Brookline Assessor’s Atlas.) Additional pictures are included
for some houses, as well.
Each house page includes
details of who lived in the house from the time it was built until
the end of World War II, when development was completed and all
of the houses were occupied.
The Blake Park mini-biographies
included in these pages can be dry, filled with dates, occupations,
places of birth, and lists of family members. But there are also
rich and colorful stories of success, of scandal, and of accomplishments
large and small. Overall, the personal profiles present a picture
of the varied types of people who lived in Blake Park in the 20s,
30s, and 40s, if not necessarily of how they lived.
The primary source for
determining who lived where (and when) is the Street
List published annually by the Town of Brookline since
the late 19th century. For the period surveyed, these lists included
all individuals aged 20 or older with their ages, their occupations,
and, if they were new to a particular address, where they had lived
There are inaccuracies
and inconsistencies within the Street Lists, but they remain the
best source in terms of date coverage, comprehensiveness, and accessibility.
Whenever possible, problematic information in the Street Lists has
been checked against other sources. (It should be noted that the
information shown in a particular Street List may more accurately
reflect the residents of the town for the previous year.)
is provided for the 70 houses that were in place, occupied, and
surveyed at the time of the 1930 U.S. Census. This is the only source
that lists all occupants of any age.
The amount of detailed
biographical information provided about the people of Blake Park
varies greatly from house-to-house and from person-to-person. This
information has been gathered, as available, from a wide variety
of sources, including:
data. Data on individual households is made public
72 years after the year it was compiled. 1930 Census data, the
most recent year available, was, of course, particularly valuable
for Blake Park, but earlier years provided details about individuals
and families as well.
especially from the Brookline Chronicle, the Boston
Globe and Herald, and the New York Times.
The Boston Public Library’s online index of Globe
and Herald obituaries, although limited in date coverage,
was particularly helpful.
from these same newspapers, as well as the Christian Science
Monitor (which had excellent local coverage early in the
20th century), and other publications.
databases. Ancestry.com, a subscription-based
service, provided well-organized access to such valuable sources
as Census reports, the Social Security Death Index, selected
directories from other Massachusetts cities and towns, World
War I draft registration cards, and family trees.
There was, at times,
a certain amount of conjecture and speculation involved in matching
biographical information to the individuals involved. I have tried
to indicate whenever there is uncertainty about a particular fact
or set of information. (Dates, for instance, will often by preceded
by the letter “c” for circa, i.e. “c1889”,
to indicate an approximate date of birth.)
There is less information
provided about the servants – mostly maids and housekeepers,
but also chauffers, cooks, nursemaids, and others – that both
lived with and worked for families in approximately one-third of
the homes in Blake Park. These individuals are harder to trace for
a variety of reasons (more common names, less consistency of residence
from year-to-year, lack of family members to connect with, etc.).
This is certainly an area for further research.
I am continuing to gather
and verify biographical and other historical information, and will
be happy to hear from anyone who can qualify, enhance, or dispute
any of the information shown in these pages.
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