Brighton, Massachusetts

Brighton is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, located in the city’s northwest corner. It is named after the town of Brighton in the English city of Brighton and Hove. For its first 160 years, Brighton was part of Cambridge and was known as Little Cambridge. Throughout much of its early history, it was a rural town with a significant commercial center at its eastern end. Brighton separated from Cambridge in 1807 after a bridge dispute and was later annexed to Boston, in 1874.

In 1630, land comprising present-day Allston-Brighton and Newton was assigned to Watertown. In 1634, the Massachusetts Bay Colony transferred ownership of the south side of the Charles River, including present-day Allston-Brighton and Newton, from Watertown to Newetowne, later renamed Cambridge. Before the American Revolutionary War, Little Cambridge became a small but prosperous farming community. Its inhabitants included wealthy Boston merchants such as Benjamin Faneuil (after whom a street in Brighton is named).

In 1820, the horticulture industry was introduced to the town. Over the next 20 years, Brighton blossomed as one of the most important gardening neighborhoods in the Boston area. The businessmen, however, did not neglect the cattle industry. In 1834, the Boston & Worcester Railroad was built, solidifying the community’s hold on the cattle trade. By 1866, the town contained 41 slaughterhouses.

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