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Brookline Then and Now: Boylston Street East of Cypress Street

December 4, 2023  Updated December 5, 2023 at 6:33 p.m.
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These photos show the north side of Boylston Street from Cameron Street, on the right, to Cypress Street. The building on the left in both photos is just across Cypress Street. It was featured in an earlier Then and Now and is the only building in the older photo that is still standing. At the far right on both photos are street signs for Cameron Street. The older photo, from the Metropolitan Water Works Photograph Collection, is part of a wider-angle picture taken on February 14, 1917. It shows workmen and onlookers at the site of a water main break. The building on the corner of Cameron Street is the shop of carpenter and builder Burton W. Neal Jr., built in 1876 by his father, who also built the three tenement buildings next to it.

Residents of those buildings in 1917 were mostly Irish-American and included firefighters, streetcar conductors and coachmen, chauffeurs, and other working class men and their families. Those buildings were torn down in 1958 and replaced by a Colonial-style Jenny Oil gas station. That, in turn, was replaced in 1984 by the current building, which was redesigned to its current appearance in 2014 for the New England Buddhist Center. The large building west of the Buddhist Center in the newer photo is part of the Cypress Lofts condominium complex, built in 2004. Beyond that is the entrance to a small street called Boylston Place, with Audi’s Village Mobil station just beyond that.

Ken Liss is the president of the Brookline Historical Society. 

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