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jon

So historically JP is part of Roxbury - but not now, right? Mission Hill and JP qualify both as separate neighborhoods? The thing that confuses me the most is why the USPS can't get with our system of neighborhoods and actually use zip codes that are reflective of the neighborhood they're in. Why are there some parts of 02119 that require you to have a JP parking permit to park on the street. Oh the humanity!

Ron Newman

When West Roxbury separated from Roxbury, the new boundary passed right through the middle of what we now call Jamaica Plain. This is why the West Roxbury District Court is at Forest Hills in JP.

And speaking of which... even though it's called Jamaica Plain, it certainly has hills, as evidenced by the name Forest Hills. Moss Hill is part of JP, and so is Bussey Hill, which is in the Arnold Arboretum. (The Arboretum's other hill, Peters Hill, probably belongs to Roslindale.)

The Editor

Ron:

Here is the description of the Town of Roxbury from 1821:

"On the northeast skirts of the town there is about one thousand acres of marsh; south-westerly whereof about three fourths of a mile the soil is rich and fertile, and within this parallel the most compact part of the town is built. Then proceeding still south-west the surface becomes more uneven with some considerable swells and ledges of rocks for about half a mile when you break in up the beautiful plain called Jamaica Plains, which is composed of a rich and productive soil, cultivated in a great degree as gardens and orchards, and producing vast quantities of vegetables and fruit of the first quality. This plain is about two miles in length and on in breadth, on which are dispersed a great number of country seats and pleasure grounds. The east and south-east, including about one third of the town, is considerably broken and rocky with about two thousand acres of woodland, but notwithstanding there are many good farms within this space."

The 1821 description describes the marshy area of the Back Bay that belonged to Roxbury, then the Dudley Square area which is "the most compact part of the town", then Fort Hill, and then Jamaica Plain(s) which, was solely that area which consisted of the plains noted above. After that initial naming, and more settlement, other sub-neighborhoods came to be seen as part of Jamaica Plain. Thanks for the information on the courthouse!

sarah c

On one level you can decide where one neighborhood starts & another ends eventually, but in one sense it's eternally fluid. . . I've noticed that in real estate marketing terms Roxbury is shrinking as the South End & JP grow since they are more desirable addresses at the present time. Each year according to Arrow Map several streets move out of their boston listings into JP or the South End.
I do real estate anaylsis for a living which is why I notice this.

Rik

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is a major reason why people often think Mission Hill is part of Jamaica Plain. Until recently, their maps usually included Mission Hill as part of JP.

The historic Roxbury/West Roxbury boundary that the Boston Landmarks Commision uses is Centre Street, which was the de facto boundary between Roxbury and West Roxbury and still is when it comes to Public Works and trash day. Trash pickup north of Centre Street is in the Roxbury District, so it's twice a week, while south of Centre Street it's the West Roxbury District, which is once a week.

MarkB

The author seems to confuse the issue of Jamaica Plain. Jamaica Plain was historically part of Roxbury, but it seceded as the town of West Roxbury in 1851. At that time, the two became different legal entities. It is difficult for me to square that fact with the claim that Jamaica Plain "will always be a part of Roxbury". To follow that logic, the thirteen colonies "will always be a part of England".

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