Founders Day October 5, 2013
The Weston Historical Society hosted an open house on October 5, 2013, the day of the Weston300 Founders Day Parade. Our thanks to Addie Fiske for loaning us two beautiful dresses, of the style that Alice and Ellen Jones might have worn when they lived in the Jones House, now known as the Josiah Smith Tavern, in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Weston Historical Society's Spring Lecture
"Weston and the Development of The Hub's Metropolis"
by James O'Connell
Urban historian James O'Connell will present an illustrated talk about how the landscape of metropolitan Boston —
including the Town of Weston — was shaped over two hundred years. From the village centers of 1800 to the far-flung,
automobile exurbs of today, Boston has been a national pacesetter for suburbanization. In his book The Hub's Metropolis,
James O'Connell charts the evolution of Boston's suburban development.
Boston is compact and consolidated — famously, "the Hub." Greater Boston, however, stretches over 1,736 square miles and ranks as the world’s sixth largest metropolitan area. Boston suburbs began to develop after 1820, when wealthy city dwellers built country estates that were just a short carriage ride away from their homes in the city. Then, as transportation became more efficient and affordable, the map of the suburbs expanded. The Metropolitan Park Commission's park-and-parkway system, developed in the 1890s, created a template for suburbanization that represents the country's first example of regional planning.
O'Connell identifies nine layers of Boston suburban development, each of which has left its imprint on the landscape: traditional villages; country retreats; railroad suburbs; streetcar suburbs (the first electric streetcar boulevard, Beacon Street in Brookline, was designed by Frederic Law Olmsted); parkway suburbs, which emphasized public green space but also encouraged commuting by automobile; mill towns, with housing for workers; upscale and middle-class suburbs accessible by outer-belt highways like Route 128; exurban, McMansion-dotted sprawl; and smart growth. Still a pacesetter, Greater Boston has pioneered anti-sprawl initiatives that encourage compact, mixed-use development in existing neighborhoods near railroad and transit stations.
James O’Connell is a planner and historian for the Boston Regional Office of the National Park Service. He has a B.A. from Bates College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Urban History from the University of Chicago. He has written five books, including Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort.
A Weston TimelineFor the 2013 Tercentennial, the Weston Historical Commission has published A Weston Timeline by Pamela W. Fox, a 46-page color illustrated booklet produced in cooperation with the Weston Historical Society.
Will You Pitch In?Donations to underwrite expenses for the WHS Tercentennial Exhibition continue to be gratefully accepted. The names of current sponsors have been acknowledged on a display panel at the exhibition. Contributions can be mailed to Weston Historical Society at P.O. Box 343, Weston MA 02493.
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