In 1845, retired businessman Henry Grew took his family on holiday
south of the City of Boston into what was then the western section
of Dorchester, and came to a spot near the Neponset River valley
with an unexpectedly pleasant view of the Blue Hills. He purchased
several hundred acres of land (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, and became one of its most prominent
citizens.) In the next few years, a group called the Hyde
Park Land Company bought some 200 acres of land in the area and
began building houses around a small unofficial passenger stop
on the Boston and Providence Railroad that had developed at Kenny's
Bridge 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
Twenty Associates that developed the Fairmount Hill on the western
side of Brush Hill Road in Milton, which led to the establishment
of a bridge over the Neponset River and a station on the New
York and New England Railroad (today Fairmount Station). The
Twenty Associates, in addition to Blake, 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 merged and growth accelerated. By 1867,
the settlements had grown to the point that there were 6 railroad
stations in the area. 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 City of Boston in Suffolk County.
The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which was one of the
first official African-American units in the United States Army
and was commanded by Col. Robert G. Shaw, 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 through the town along
the route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, bifurcating
the neighborhood and displacing many residents in the process
as it had 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 nearly 130
years, it was the main base of the Westinghouse Sturtevant Corporation.
The Readville area was also home to the Stop & Shop warehouse
until it 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 Catholic Churches, and
the Episcopal Parish of Christ Church (the oldest parish in Hyde
Park, now Iglesia de San Juan) designed by Cram Wentworth &
Goodhue and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hyde Park is also the original home of the Boston Crusaders,
a World Class drum and bugle corps founded in 1940 at the Most
Precious Blood Parish
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