Olmsted and his firm drew numerous plans for the Blakes over the next 15 years, but they were never executed. The estate remained something of an anomaly: a large tract of open land, renowned for its landscaping, in the heart of a community rapidly developing as a "streetcar suburb".
It wasn't until 1916 that land was sold, roads were laid out — somewhat differently than Olmsted had envisioned them — and the development of "Blake Park" was announced with some fanfare.
|These maps show the Blake Estate in 1913 (top) and the same area under development as Blake Park in 1927 (bottom). Click on the maps for a larger view.|
Death and financial scandal delayed development for another decade. Finally, in 1925, with both Blake and Olmsted long dead, a new largely middle-class neighborhood began to emerge, populated by the families of bankers and brokers, doctors and lawyers, salesman, college professors, contractors, and local merchants.
This free, 90-minute walking tour will tell the story of the transformation (in fits and starts) of this part of Brookline from a private estate to a residential neighborhood that remains largely as it was when first built.
The tour begins — rain or shine — at 2:00 pm in front of the main entrance to Brookline High School on Greenough Street.