Once referred to as “the Eden of America,” Jamaica Plain is a unique section of the City of Boston. It was part of the Town of Roxbury until 1848. It was then part of West Roxbury, until it finally became Jamaica Plain.
Legend has it that the name Jamaica Plain came from the fondness of the residents for Jamaica rum and that they preferred it “plain.” More likely, the neighborhood got its name from Kutchamaiken, chief of an Indian tribe at Jamaica Pond more than two centuries ago.
Jamaica Pond, the only extensive natural body of fresh water in Boston, covers an area of nearly 70 acres and is as deep as 70 feet. Until the introduction of Cochituate reservoir water into Boston in 1848, the pond supplied the city with water by an underground aqueduct.
During the 19th century, the population increased rapidly. As breweries and factories located here, the fine estates, lush gardens and farms of the original well-to-do residents gave way to more modest and affordable houses. The growth and crowding of the city led to the expansion of the livable Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.
For more information and publications about Jamaica Plain history, as well as membership information, see the Jamaica Plain Historical Society website at jphs.org.