Brighton, "the street car suburb" is a Boston neighborhood at the city's western edge. Known collectively with its neighboring community, Allston/ Brighton was settled in the late 1600's. Little Cambridge, as it was called until 1807, was agricultural land and later a key center for cattle raising and stockyards. Its local industry supplied the Continental Army with meat during the American Revolution. In 1807, when neighboring Cambridge failed to repair the bridge that linked Little Cambridge to the north, thus jeopardizing commerce and transportation, Little Cambridge seceded and incorporated itself as Brighton.
Later, in 1874, Brighton was absorbed by the ever-growing city of Boston. The increased use of the electric trolley allowed Brighton to thrive as a residential suburb. Today, Brighton continues to be a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood. Families, young professionals and Boston's student population mingle in this ethnically diverse community. The main street that runs through Brighton Center and to Oak Square is Washington Street is lined with small family-run businesses, international cuisine restaurants, night spots, pubs as well as by large retailers.
A short walk down the tree-lined suburban side streets reveals a mixture of well-maintained and restored homes of various architectural styles: colonials, brightly painted Victorians, stately Greek revivals and triple-decker multi-family homes. Along the more urban-seeming avenues, among store fronts, one finds ornate brick apartment houses of the neighborhood's active rental and condo market.
There is a public high school within the neighborhood as well as five elementary schools and a middle school. These schools belong to the North Zone of Boston Public Schools. Covering over 4 square miles, Allston/ Brighton has a population of nearly 70,000 residents, making it the largest neighborhood in Boston. The neighborhood is bordered on the south by the City of Brookline and on the north by the City of Cambridge. Also at the northern edge of the neighborhood is the Massachusetts Turnpike Route 90, a major east-west artery of the state.