The Brighton Center Commercial Area is one of the most historically significant areas within Allston-Brighton. The northeast corner of the historic Washington and Market Street cross roads became the focus of the community's educational and religious life as early as the second quarter of the eighteenth century with the establishment of the first school in l722 and the first meetinghouse in 1744.
Brighton Center's status as a community center was reinforced by the establishment of the Old Burial Ground on Market Street in 1764. Between c.1790 and 1820, Brighton Center's fortune's were on the rise, becoming the seat of town government for the new town of Brighton in 1807 and a major agricultural center with the establishment of the fair grounds of the Massachusetts Society for the Promoting of Agriculture in 1818. During this period, Brighton Center became the home of literary figures such as the Reverend John Foster and his wife, novelist Hannah Foster, and Unitarian theologian and peace activist Reverend Dr. Noah Worcester.
The hay day of the Cattle Market and related hotel industry occurred during the period 1820-1870. The concentration of cattle slaughtering and the cattle yards at the Brighton Abattoir in North Brighton during the 1870s and early 50s resulted in the loss of the cattlemen's business at Brighton Center. Nevertheless, the center flourished as a local commercial center and during the first quarter of the 20th century a new wave of commercial blocks were constructed to accommodate the burgeoning automobile trade. During the 1910s and 1920s, the Yankee dominance of this area was surpassed by Italian residents and store owners.
Little Cambridge, later Brighton, remained a sparsely settled agricultural community during the 17th and 18th centuries. Its population rose only slightly from 125 to 350, between 1690 and 1790. With the withdrawal of Newton from Cambridge in 1688, Little Cambridge became the only part of Cambridge south of the Charles River.
The first stirrings of independence by Little Cambridge as well as the beginnings of Brighton Center are rooted in the establishment of a schoolhouse near the northeast corner of Market and Washington streets on land furnished by Daniel Dana, the youngest son of Richard Dana who emigrated from Manchester England in 1640. With a tuition of ten-shillings per year, the first school can not be classified as public, although the Town of Cambridge maintained it out of general revenues and the local population selected a committee to manage the facility. A larger schoolhouse measuring 28 by 20 feet was built at the same location in 1769.
Another step toward independence was taken in 1734 when the community successfully petitioned the colonial legislature for permission to hold religious services in Little Cambridge in winter. In 1739, a committee of local residents recommended the construction of a meetinghouse at the northeast corner of Washington and Market streets, adjacent to the schoolhouse. It was not until 1744, however, that this house of worship was built. Brighton-Allston historian William Marchione notes that "the Little Cambridge Meetinghouse, it should be emphasized, was merely an annex or chapel of the First Church of Cambridge. While its members no longer worshipped at the parent church in Harvard Square, they were technically still members of the old church and therefore obligated to pay for its upkeep. This double payment system, which prevailed for nearly forty years, vexed the people of Little Cambridge."
After a thirty-two year struggle, the General Court finally approved the separation of the churches at Harvard Square and Brighton Center in April, 1779. The Brighton church was incorporated on February 23, 1783. In 1807, the town moved the 1744 church across Washington Street to the site of the present Elk's Lodge at 326 Washington Street. Following a fire that destroyed its predecessor, the present Cabot, Everett and Chandler designed Brighton Evangelical Church was built in 1921 at 404 Washington Street. The current church is the third Evangelical Congregational Church to stand at the northwest corner of Dighton and Washington streets. Constructed in 1827, the first Brighton Evangelical Congregational Church was a product of the Great Schism that occurred in New England Congregational societies during the first quarter of the 19th century. In Brighton, parishioners opposed to the liberal Unitarian teachings of Reverend John Foster built themselves a house of worship for a more conservative or Trinitarian congregation. The second church was built in 1868 from designs provided by Brighton resident Granville Fuller, architect of the 1841 Greek Revival Brighton Town Hall (destroyed by fire c.1975).
The commencement of the Reverend John Foster's pastorate on November 4, 1784 marked the beginning of a forty year period that represents the flowering of Brighton Center as a prosperous and progressive town center. This era was known as the Federal Period in United States history, and by this era's end, Brighton had an architectural identity recognizable as a town center and a burgeoning reputation as an important horticultural center and cattle market. The 21-year old, Dartmouth College-educated John Foster, was a member of a new, liberal, generation of Congregational clerics who fervently embraced the less pietistic tenets of the Unitarian philosophy. William Marchione notes that "learned, kindly John Foster, author of more than thirty religious tracts, Harvard College Trustee, gentleman and aristocrat, was well-suited to the community he had been called to serve." Foster's wife Hannah was an interesting figure in her own right, as an accomplished writer and author of the controversial novel "The Coquette or the History of Eliza Wharton." This shocking tale of seduction, based on the experiences of Reverend Foster's cousin, Eliza Whitman, became the most popular literary work in New England in the early 1800s. Remarkably, John and Hannah Foster's first home in Brighton survives at the c.1790 dwelling at 338 Washington Street. Over time, the Old Parsonage has been "Greek Revitalized " and its first floor altered for commercial purposes. By 1830, Brighton Center blacksmith Stephen Stone lived in the former rectory. During the late 19th century, this house was one of the many properties of Boston lawyer and Brighton Avenue resident Edward Sohier. He was a partner in the firm of Sohier and Welch. By 1909 it was a hotel and news stand. During the 1910s,'20s and 30s it was operated as a fruit stand and newsdealership by John and Victor Picone.
Constructed by 1830, the wooden Greek Revival dwelling located directly behind the parsonage at 6 Academy Hill Road was the home of general store owner Elijah White. White's Store was located across the street at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue. This store was a gathering place for farmers from Worcester County and other places. By the late 19th century, 6 Academy Hill Road contained the home and stores of grocers C.W.P. and William Wilde (1870s - 1890s) and Domenico Lombardi (1920s until at least 1950).
Although the early 19th century Reverend Dr. Noah Worcester House was torn down to accommodate the c. 1910-1915 Colonial Revival three deckers at 437 and 439 Washington Street, a c. 1930s granite marker is situated between these two residences to commemorate the site of this early 19th century residence, Dr. Noah Worcester, editor of the Unitarian journal The Christian Disciple and one of the founders of the American peace movement settled in Brighton in 1813. Worcester wrote his most important work, A Solemn Review of the Custom of War (1814) in his wooden residence at the northwest corner of Washington and Foster streets. Worcester's writings led to the establishment of many peace societies in the United States and abroad, including the Massachusetts Peace Society which Worcester served as Secretary. He was Brighton's first postmaster, serving from 1817 until his death in 1837. The post office was located in his home.
The Federal Period in the Boston area was characterized by ambitious bridge, highway and canal construction projects. Although no canals were cut through Brighton, the town was the scene of several significant road and bridge projects. The construction of Cambridge Street and the River Street Bridge in 1810 and Brighton Avenue in 1824 linked Brighton Center more closely with Cambridge and Boston.
During the 1820s and '30s, these new roads provided access to persons doing business with Brighton's thriving agricultural concerns. Eminent visitors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Cullen Bryant traveled through Brighton Center on their way to the nurseries of Joseph L.L. Warren's Nonantum Vale Gardens, Jonathan Winship and Joseph Breck. The decision of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture (MSPA) to locate its fairgrounds and exhibition hall permanently in Brighton enhanced the town's position as a horticultural center. One of the earliest and largest agricultural fairs in the nation, the Brighton fair and Cattle show, was held in October of each year from 1817 to 1835. These fairs "embraced everything that could interest a farmer or be of benefit to agriculture; and in connection with them the importation of superior breeds of farm animals laid a firm and scientific base for the excellence which developed later. The town fathers were eager to secure the Brighton Fair and Cattle Show for Brighton, recognizing that a permanent location for the fair in Brighton would, greatly benefit the local cattle industry.
By 1830,the Brighton Fair was in decline owing to "the effects of counter attractions by the county societies." By 1835, competition from other fairs caused the Brighton Fair to cease operations. Little physical evidence remains within the Brighton Commercial area to attest to the vitality and importance of the Brighton Fair, with the noteworthy exception of Agricultural Hall at 356-360 Washington Street. Originally located atop Agricultural Hill on the site of the Winship School on Dighton Street, this c. 1820s Greek Revival structure was moved to its present lot in 1844. In its original condition, this wooden exhibition hall was a two-story structure, measuring seventy by thirty-six feet long. The lower level was used to display the latest farm implements, and mammoth vegetables, while the upper level was devoted to textile and handicraft exhibits." After it was moved to the northeast corner of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Washington Street, it became the Eastern Hotel, one of the half dozen or so hotels at Brighton Center that catered to cattlemen.
The beginnings of Brighton's Cattle Market are rooted in the imaginative entrepreneurship of Jonathan Winship I and Jonathan Winship II, father and son.
The Winships arrived in Little Cambridge from Lexington on the eve of the Revolution. As early as 1775, this remarkable family established the Little Cambridge Cattle Market. The Winships responded to the provisions needs of General Washington's Cambridge based army by alerting farmers in surrounding communities that they would purchase their cattle. After the cattle was sent to Little Cambridge, the animals were processed for the patriots at their Academy Hill Road slaughterhouse. General Washington, recognizing the importance of a well fed army, posted soldiers at the Winship warehouses to protect them against sabotage. By the war's end the Winships were the richest family in Brighton.
In 1780, they built a large mansion on the site of the present Brighton Police Station at 301 Washington Street. The Winship house was an L-shaped complex consisting of a monitor-on-hip roofed main block and large stable. While the Brighton cattle market was founded by the Winships and reinforced by the MSPA's Brighton Fair, it was the introduction of rail service to the town during the 1830s that allowed this important industry to expand and flourish.
Although the Boston and Worcester Railroad was routed through the northern part of town, Brighton Center's Cattle Market nevertheless benefited from the introduction of this new form of transportation. According to William Marchione, "the building of the B&W through Brighton marked the culmination of the town's long struggle to solidify its hold on the cattle trade. Since the railroad encouraged livestock shipments to Brighton by setting low carload rates for cattle, sheep, hogs and calves, its construction proved highly beneficial to the town's economy.
By the 1830s, Brighton Center contained a social library, fire house, town hall, two churches, and a post office. Commercial concerns encompassed a harness maker's shop, wheelwright shop, blacksmith shop, bank, three general stores and a tavern. Additionally, a half dozen private homes lined Washington Street at Brighton Center. The Cattle Fair Hotel built in 1830, stood at the northwest corner of Washington and Market streets, complete with auctioneer's platform, barn and cattle yards. In 1841, a handsome, temple form, Greek Revival town hall was built at 321 Washington Street by Brighton architect and lumber yard owner Granville A. Fuller. This wooden structures high granite block foundation is still visible beneath the modern structure that replaced the fire-destroyed Brighton Town Hall in 1976.
The Cattle Fair Hotel was Brighton's most visible symbol of the town's lucrative cattle industry. By the 1850s the hotel had been greatly enlarged and accorded formal, Italianate architectural treatments by the Boston architect William Washburn. This Italianate, cupola topped, four story building had a rusticated entrance loggia. By mid-century, Brighton's Cattle Market was New England's largest, doing some $2 to $3 million dollars of business in hogs, cattle, and sheep annually. By 1866 Brighton contained some fifty-five small-scale butchering establishments. On Market Day, a colorful melange of drovers, stockmen, cattle dealers, hawkers and peddlers were drawn to Brighton Center.
The rough and tumble atmosphere of cattle and other farm animals being herded through the streets of the town as well as the revelry of inebriated visitors in hotel barrooms inspired the great writer Nathaniel Hawthorn to describe a Market Day in Brighton during the Fall of 1841. No trace remains of this hotel or its cattle yards. Sold in 1881, the famous hotel struggled on the Faneuil House despite the consolidation of animal slaughtering at the Brighton Abattoir and the removal of the cattle yards to North Brighton. Demolished around the turn of the century, The Cattle Fair Hotel was the largest of the half dozen or so hostelries frequented by the cattlemen. In addition to the Cattle Fair Hotel and the Eastern Star Hotel, Brighton Center encompassed the Reservoir Hotel which stood on the site of the commercial block at 311-313 Washington Street.
The vinyl sided structure at 15 Academy Hill Road appears to be a c. 1840s structure that may be the John D. Willis Stables. Occupying this site during the late 19th century, the Willis Stables was owned y the old Colony Trust Company during the 1920s and by 1930, housed Watson Brothers Auto Painters. During the 19th century, stables, both private and commercial, were a common feature of the commercial concerns and houses lining Washington Street; 15 Academy Hill Road may be one of the last of these utilitarian structures to survive in a relatively intact form.
Built during the end of Brighton's Cattle Market era the c.1865-1875 Corcoran Building at 394 Washington Street and 2-4 Dighton Street was constructed c.1865-1975 on the site of the c. 1820s J.B. Mason Grocery Store. The Mason Store was a wooden single story structure that contained the post office after 1837. James Corcoran and his heirs owned this property from c.1870 until c. 920. By 1930, its tenants were Samuel Bornstein, tailor and O'Donnell Auto accessories.
Although built during the early 1900s, the Shingle Style St. Margaret's Episcopal Parish Hall at 9 Eastburn Street provides physical evidence of an Episcopalian congregation in Brighton that was organized in 1854. The establishment of an Episcopal Church at mid-century in Brighton was indicative of the population growth that occurred between the time of the town's incorporation in 1807 and its fiftieth anniversary in 1857. The century began with a population of between 500 and 600 inhabitants and by 1857 had risen to over 3,000 persons. With the growth in population new religious societies were formed including those of the Catholics (1855), Universalists (1861) and Methodists (1872). St. Margaret's Episcopal Church was founded by the Reverend Cyrus F. Knight, a native son. who later served as the Episcopal Bishop of Milwaukee. Among the first parishioners were families with summer retreats in the town. In 1864, the Episcopalians built the wooden Gothic Revival Church of the Epiphany at the corner of Washington and Eastburn streets. In 1872, it was sold to a new parish under the name of St. Margaret's Church. Although this church was destroyed by fire during the late 1970s, its name lives on at St. Luke's and St. Margaret's Church in the Packard's Corner area of Allston. Several stained glass windows and memorabilia from the Brighton Center Church have been relocated to St. Luke's. St. Margaret's Rectory was located next door to the church at 434 Washington Street. Built for the church c. 1917-1924, this stucco parged Craftsman style house replaced the early 19th century, wooden, five bay, single pile John Field House.
During the 1880s and 1890s transportation improvements were a major factor in the growth of Brighton Center. In 1889, the Oak Square branch of Henry M. Whitney's electric West End Street Railway linked western Brighton with Beacon Street, Brookline via Washington Street. As Sam Bass Warner, Jr. noted of this transportation revolution, "In the late 1880s and 1890s the electrification of street railways brought convenient transportation to at least the range of six miles from City Hall. The rate of building and settlement in the period became so rapid that the whole scale and plan of Greater Boston was entirely made over." The introduction of electric streetcar service and the relocation of the cattle yards to North Brighton opened the area north of Brighton Center for residential development. The affluent residents of this area were an ideal clientele for the commercial enterprises of Brighton Center. Providing physical evidence of Brighton's late 19th century prosperity as a commercial center are several architecturally distinguished commercial blocks. Built in 1879, the brick Victorian Warren Hall at 329-337 Washington Street was named for the William Wirt Warren family. During the late l9th century Warren rose to a position of influence in the affairs of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, serving as local Collector of Internal Revenue, as State Senator, candidate for state attorney General and Congressman. Warren's heirs owned this imposing building with its stores, offices and meeting hall until at least the 1920s.
During the first half of the 20th century the Brighton Center Post Office was located in this building. In 1926, Warren Hall was the scene of a celebration by the Massachusetts Sons of Italy Convention, an event symbolic of the rise of the town's Italian population which numbered 3,500 by 1930. By 1930, the Warren Building's tenants included the Warren Hall Market, Pliny W. Berks, dentist, Masonic Hall, Summerland Hairdressing Parlor, Mrs. Annie Blackwell, nurse, Napoleon Ross, painter, Sophie L. Nyberg, Clifford B. Dolan, laborer, John B. Martin, clerk and Ellen F. Conley, assistant librarian, Brighton Branch Library.
During the late 19th century, a handsome masonry High Victorian Gothic commercial block anchored the northwest corner of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Washington Street. Containing Heinlein & Co. Pharmacy and M. O'Keefe's Teas and Coffee Store, this structure was replaced by the present c.1920-1930 Georgian Revival building at 360-362 Washington Street. Further research may reveal that the present building represents a significant percentage of the original building's fabric. This prominent corner lot was occupied by the original Bank of Brighton from the late 1820s until after the Civil War. The present building's upper floors house 10 apartments. From the 1920s until the 1940s, this building contained a branch of the First National Bank of Boston. In 1940, Michael F. Rosenthall, jeweler, is listed at this address, along with the bank. In 1950, its commercial tenants included J. F. Conaty, Electric Company and Radios as well as the Brighton Loan Company.
Built in 1892, the Nagle Building at 300-310 Washington Street is a fine example of a Queen Anne commercial/residential block. As early as 1875, this site was occupied by 4 small wooden buildings which were evidently associated with Nagle's Hotel which stood at the northwest corner of Winship and Washington streets. As late as 1916, Nagle's hotel stood on the site of the 1920s commercial block at 290-298 Washington Street. The Nagle Building was constructed by J.J. Flynn from designs provided by W.E. Clark. By 1930, the Nagle Building housed Ryan Brothers Fruit (302), Arthur I. Russell, plumber (304), Brighton Center Pool Room (306) and Mrs. Fannie Dreyer's Variety Store. Tenants in the upstairs apartments were of Irish, Italian, French and German stock. In 1950, the Nagle Building's commercial space was occupied by Brighton Cleansers and Tailors, Brighton Tap and Restaurant, Inc. and Louis Furniture Company.
Before continuing with the discussion of late 19th century commercial building's mention should be made of the Georgian Revival, yellow brick Brighton Police Station at 301 Washington Street. Built c.1891-1894, the Brighton Police Station occupies the site of the old 1780 Winship Mansion. In 1820, Samuel Dudley bought the property from the Winship family, added an extra floor to the old mansion and converted it to a hotel. It was here that General Lafayette stayed while visiting Brighton in 1826, on the nation's 50th anniversary. To the right stood a small building, which served both as the law office of Abraham Edwards and the headquarters of the Brighton Social Library, established in 1824. In 1856 it merged with a new society, the Brighton Library Association, which had been incorporated by the legislature for book circulation, public lectures and exercises in debate, declamation and composition. By 1875, the building and large stable complex on this site was Wilson's Hotel, owned by wealthy teamster George A. Wilson. By 1885, Wilson's Hotel and stables were still standing but had was no longer in business. This lot, owned by the City of Boston, was designed by Boston City Architect Edmund March Wheelwright. Situated at the eastern entrance to Brighton Center, the early 1890s Brighton Police is no less an impressive "gateway" structure than the Winship Mansion or the Dudley and Wilson Hotels. It was designed by Boston City Architect Edmund March Wheelwright. He was responsible for the 1894 Brighton High School (William Howard Taft Middle School), Longfellow Bridge, Harvard Lampoon Building, the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall and many other important public buildings.
The Davis Building at 328 Washington Street is a three-story Queen Anne commercial/residential building was built for bakers Charles W. and Frederick A. Davis between 1886-1894. By 1925, this building was owned by Andrew J. Granara. By 1930, Peter Kanofsky, baker, occupied the first floor's commercial space.
Constructed c.1900-1908, the Washington and Imperial Buildings at 363 -365 Washington Street and 418-422 Washington Street, by virtue of their 5 story height, massing and prominent siting are the most highly visible reminders of Brighton Center's prosperity during the early years of the Streetcar Suburbs era. Originally, both buildings were called the Imperial Building. This lot has a long history as a site of an historically significant landmark. As early as 1722, the First Parish Church of Brighton was located on this parcel. The last First Parish Church to occupy this lot was torn down during the 1890s. By 1899, a T-shaped wooden building owned by George L. Clark and the heirs of cattleman Stephen Bennett owned this property. Early owners of the present early 1900s building included Celia Urofsky (1909) and Katherine A. Quinn (1916). The 1925 Brighton Atlas shows the towered structural component labeled Washington Building. Also known as Rourke's Building, by the mid-'20s J.M. Rourke's Drug Store was housed in the Washington Building's corner store. Still located in this commercial space, Rourke's Drug Store retains the appearance of an early 20th century pharmacy and soda fountain. By 1930, tenants of the Washington and Imperial Buildings included Dennis F. Rourke, Drugs, Brighton Beauty Shoppe, Francis P. Devlin, dentist, James E. Devlin, dentist, Arthur R. Falvey, dentist and Estella N. Tierney, dressmaker.
The 1910s and 1920s witnessed the final phase of Brighton Center's transformation from a village of wooden structures to a more urbane town center of masonry commercial buildings. This wave of construction activity was triggered by the advent of the automobile trade and the ambitions of Italian, Jewish and Irish entrepreneurs who operated grocery, clothing, hardware and other businesses in the new one to two story Classical Revival, Georgian Revival, Tudoresque and Tapestry Brick commercial blocks. The demolition of the Cattle Fair Hotel at the turn of the century opened the north side of Washington Street, between Parsons and Market streets for development.
Erected on the old hotel grounds c.1910-1915, the brick 381-385 Washington Street is difficult to categorize in terms of historical architectural style. This. one story structure was built for Joseph Houlton. In 1930, its commercial tenants included Economy Grocery Stores, Quality Market and Peter Zata, confectioner. By 1950, Earle's Card Shop, James M. Sutcliffe, real estate and a candy store were listed at this address.
The one story, Classical Revival, stucco-parged commercial structure at 415-419 Washington Street was built c. 1917-1924 for J.S. Arvamides. During the 1870s, L-shaped and U-shaped houses owned by dry goods store owner Charles Heard were located on this lot. By the early 1900s, the L-shaped house was no longer standing while the U-shaped dwelling was owned by Marshall N. Rice. The old Heard House was demolished during the early 1920s to accommodate the Arvamides Block whose commercial tenants in 1930 included Caron Company Inc., confectioners, First National Stores, Inc. and Charles Grandison Real Estate. By 1950, this building was occupied by a candy store, tailor, shoe repair and coffee shop.
Before considering other World War I era commercial blocks, the yellow brick Georgian Revival Martinello Apartments at 10-16 Chestnut Hill Avenue should be mentioned as examples of housing dating from 1910-1915 as well a building whose early ownership provides evidence of the rise of an Italian population in Brighton. During the late 19th century, this lot was occupied by Scates' Stables. By 1916, M. Martinello owned the present apartment house. In 1925 A. Rozen is listed as this property's owner.
By 1930, Italian, Irish and Anglo tenants are listed at this address, including: auto mechanics, Thomas A. Hesky and James A. Hendricks, Truman H. Judson, lineman, Clarence F. Beckwith, baker, Lawrence A. Centola, employee of the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station, Leon McPherson, driver, Nicholas Gamal, salesman, Bernard Ravesi, fruit market proprietor, Arthur Chiampagne, Stephen P.Melia, gardener and Lawrence E. Orkle.
The Greenleaf Block at 311-313 Washington Street was built c.1910-1915 from designs provided by Luther C. Greenleaf, architect and original owner of this building. Listed at 6 Upland Road, Dorchester in 1916, Greenleafs office was located at 101 Tremont Street, Boston. He owned this two story Tapestry Brick commercial block until at least 1925. By 1930 First National Stores, Inc., and Whittemore, Batchelder Coal Company occupied the first floor while William T. Coggan, dentist and Thomas H. Connelly occupied the second floor's professional offices. By 1950, the Greenleaf Block's occupants included: William F.E. Coughlan, Chiropodist, the Gardener and Denver Company, Randell-Parker, Inc. Women's Clothing, Daniel F. Shea, Florist and Warren Hall Market Inc.
The Tudoresque commercial building at 345 Washington Street was built c.1910-1915 on the site of the venerable Osborn House, a wooden 18th century saltbox . During the early 19th century a public open space called "The Green" was located between the Osborn House and the First Parish Church. John Herrick purchased the Osborn House from Isaac Champney in 1807. Encompassed one acre, mansion, shop and slaughter house, Herrick sold this property to Stephen Stone, blacksmith, in 1816. In 1820, Jesse Osborn, wheelwright, purchased the house and about half an acre of land. Osborn's heirs owned this dwelling until as late as 1909. By 1916, Archibard Harvey and Herbert S. Streeter owned the present building. In 1930, commercial tenants included James J. Callahan's Men's Furnishings, Charles A. Bean's Variety Store and the Boston Shoe Repair. By l950, this building's tenants included First National Stores Inc., Newhall and Newall, Insurance, Shamrock Tavern, Inc., Callahan's Men's Shop, and the Egyptian Bowling Alley. The Bowling Alley was evidently named after the Art Deco Egyptian Theater which was located across the street at 326 Washington Street.
Built in 1929, the Art Deco Egyptian Theater was one of the handsomest movie palaces built in Boston during the 1920s. With a seating capacity of 1,700, the construction of this theater coincided with the advent of "talking pictures." This theater reached the height of its popularity during World War II . Demolished in 1959, even the Pharaonic grandeur of the theater's interior could no longer compete with the convenience and economy of television.
366-374 Washington Street is a relatively late example of the Tapestry Brick commercial block. During the 1820s and '30s, this site was occupied by Charles Heard's dry goods store and tailoring business. He was the first local merchant to sell ready made clothing. A Miss Lawton and Miss Gill operated a millinery and dressmaking concern out of the same building. By 1875, the two wooden buildings on this lot were owned by members of old Brighton families. Edward Sparhawk and Sally Munroe owned these buildings during the late l9th century. By l925, K.M. Glynn and W.J. Dennis owned these wooden buildings. Built between 1925 and l930, the present building's early tenants included the Great A & P Tea Company, Morgan Brothers, Inc., Creamery and Angelo Minella, plumber. By 1950, commercial concerns listed at this address included : Home Supply Co., a current tenant, Anthony Ferrolito's Fruit Market, Morgan Brothers Creamery and Edward P. Ford, liquors.
Constructed between 1960-1970, the red brick, Georgian Revival Brighton Medical Building at 418 Washington Street is highly compatible with the older buildings of this commercial area Its site was occupied by the T-shaped wooden house of Annie J. Knight during the late 19th and early 20th century. By 1916, this dwelling had been converted into a duplex owned by Cyrus W. Alger and Lucy A. Clark. During the 1950s and early 1960s, the old Knight House contained Arlington Conservatories, florists, a business reminiscent of the horticultural concerns which thrived around Brighton Center during the first half of the 19th century.
Click on the following links for related information on Brighton Center