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Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts

From Academic Kids

Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. It was originally part of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and then part of the town of West Roxbury, Massachusetts when that was established in 1848. West Roxbury (including Jamaica Plain) was annexed to Boston in 1874. According to an official city estimate, it had a population of 38,196 in October, 2003.

One of the original streetcar suburbs, by the 1850s Jamaica Plain included massive summer "cottages" near Jamaica Pond belonging to Boston's oldest families, middle-class single-family homes, and immigrant worker housing. It was the home of almost a dozen breweries which relied on the relatively pure water of Stony Brook.

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VictorianHouseJamaicaPlain20040313.jpg
A Victorian-era house in Jamaica Plan

By the end of the 19th century, the annexation by Boston had provided municipal services to the neighborhood, and it began to experience a rapid growth in population. This was fostered by the creation of Forest Hills Cemetery, Arnold Arboretum, and the Emerald Necklace -- a series of parks and parkways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted on the western and southern sides of Jamaica Plain.

During the 20th century Jamaica Plain transformed from a streetcar suburb to a more urban neighborhood, with a heavily Irish-American population. And by the 1970s it was better known for its petty crime than for its parks, but had become a more diverse and aging community. By the turn of the century, it was experiencing rapid gentrification, and had a growing lesbian and gay population, as well as a large community of political activists, artists, and young families -- while also experiencing a loss in low- to moderate-income housing.

Jamaica Plain was the setting of the film Mystic River; in the movie it is referred to by the fictitious name "Buckingham Flats."

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