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TheLamestUsername t1_ja6aulh wrote

Behold the Aberdeen Historic District!

The neighborhood derived its name from the Aberdeen Land Company, which was founded in 1890. The company’s stock was held by twenty five investors, mostly Boston area financiers, merchants, and manufacturers. It was chartered to operate until 1915, for the express purpose of developing the area residentially. One of its largest stockholders was Henry M. Whitney, the transportation mogul who had developed Beacon Street. Others included G.T.W. Braman, President of the Boston Water Power Company; Noah W. Jordan, President and Chairman of the Board of the American Loan & Trust Company; and Isaac T. Burr, President of the Bank of North America. Two of the largest stockholders, incidentally, were Brighton men, George A. Wilson and Benjamin F. Ricker. As prior owners of land in the area, they probably traded their acreage for Aberdeen Land Company stock.

While there were other land companies that held property in the neighborhood, one being Henry Whitney's own West End Land Company, there seems little question that its present design, its street patterns and place names are a legacy of the Aberdeen Land Company.

The company was named for a Scottish county and many of the streets in Aberdeen likewise bear Anglo-Scottish names: Lanark, Sutherland, Kinross, Orkney, Strathmore, Radnor, Windsor, and Warwick, among others. How are we to account for this nomenclature? The British Empire was at the height of its prestige in the 1890s; also, the works of the immensely popular novelist Sir Walter Scott had given a special aura of romanticism to things Scottish. These Anglo-Scottish shire names carried just the right hint of the prestige and exclusiveness that Aberdeen’s projectors wished to attach to their emergent elite neighborhood.


3720-To-One OP t1_ja6bvto wrote

It’s hard to imagine that land, even in 1890, being undeveloped.


BradMarchandsNose t1_ja6hyar wrote

There’s some cool old photos in the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum of that area when the house was first built. There was nothing around, basically just swamp land (I know that’s not Brookline but same idea)


AnyRound5042 t1_ja7lue0 wrote

There's some crazy pictures, like Boston public library in Copley surrounded by... Nothing. One building next to it and everything else to the horizon, looks like it's taken with the background going off to the northwest, just empty


harriedhag t1_jabjy55 wrote

You know, it’s fascinating to think of that period as just 100-year-old real estate developers. I associate “developer” as a modern, faceless, capitalist entity with no interest other than money. 100 years ago, they were doing the same! I’d argue with a lot more intent, neighborhoods were built with cohesive intent and aesthetics, but the concept is the same. Everything was just farms or pasture, and it all had to be sold to a developer at some point.


agu-g t1_ja68l8o wrote

CRAZY guess, Scottish people long ago?


AnyRound5042 t1_ja7lx02 wrote

We do have Scottish immigrants here. Source: my family tree


boreas907 t1_ja7m7n4 wrote

It was actually some very enthusiastic New Caledonians.


Jusmon1108 t1_ja7lua7 wrote

You mean a community of Scots may have lived there when the streets were named? 🤯


3720-To-One OP t1_ja7mz42 wrote

Turns out that that’s not the case at all according to another poster’s comment.