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Cattle Fair Hotel

The Cattle Fair Hotel was built in 1830 on the north side of Washington Street in Brighton Center between present-day Leicester and Market Streets. The parent group, the Cattle Fair Hotel Corporation, was the second oldest corporation established in Massachusetts, after to the Boston & Roxbury Mill Dam Corporation.

The Cattle Fair Hotel Corporation also laid out the system of yards behind the hotel, the Brighton Stockyards, that long served as the principal headquarters of New England’s cattle industry. The cattle sales in the ten years ending in 1845 from this market averaged an enormous $2 million a year.

The Cattle Fair Hotel, with its hundred rooms, grand ballroom, and giant dining room, was the largest hotel in the Boston suburbs. The hotel’s manager in the early 1830s, Zachariah B. Porter, later founded the Porter House Hotel in Cambridge, from which Porter Square and the Porter House Steak derived their names. Bostonians rode out along the Mill Dam Road (now Beacon Street) and Mill Dam Extension (lower Commonwealth Avenue) to the Cattle Fair to avail themselves of the liquid refreshments available in its giant saloon, which was said to be the largest watering hole in New England. In 1852 the hotel underwent a major renovation and enlargement by prominent Boston architect William Washburn in the then popular Italianate style.

The Brighton Stockyards moved to North Brighton in 1884, whereupon the hotel was renamed the Faneuil House. It was demolished in the late 1890s to make way for commercial development.

1875 Brighton Center Map showing the Cattle Fair Hotel at the corner of Market St and Washington St


1865 Brighton townspeople celebrate the end of the Civil War.  The celebration, originally scheduled to be held in late April, was put off until May owing to the assassination of President Lincoln



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