Brookline: then and now

In 1917, the year of John F. Kennedy’s birth, the town of Brookline looked much different than it does now. According to park ranger Jim Roberts, Brookline was a “streetcar suburb” of Boston. The streetcars traveled on Beacon Street, as the C line of the MBTA does today, and most of the town’s commercial buildings were situated on or near Beacon Street. The Kennedy family lived on Beals Street, which had very few houses on it at the time, but its proximity to the streetcars combined with the abundance of open space made it appealing to the family, Roberts said. The Kennedy children were also able to attend Devotion School, located just a few blocks away from Beals Street, which John did until the third grade.