History: City of Roxbury
In the first generations after the Revolutionary War, American society went through many changes as cities grew and industries developed. This process included a new ideal of “the good life.” Instead of living near their work in the city, people wanted to live in free-standing, single-family houses with yards and trees.
Roxbury was close enough to Boston to be a good choice for those pursuing this suburban dream. The first developments took place in the 1820s, when a horse-drawn bus line was established along Washington Street, linking Roxbury to Boston for commuters; and in 1835, when the railroad from Boston to Providence was sited along the Stony Brook Valley.
Soon, farmland began to be subdivided for single-family dwellings, and Roxbury began its transition to a leafy Boston suburb. When electric trolley service began in 1887, more and more families poured into the neighborhood, creating a market for rowhouses and triple-deckers as well as single-family homes.
Growth created the need for more municipal services, so the citizens of Roxbury voted first to incorporate as a city in 1846 and then to become annexed to Boston in 1868. The demand for services was responsible for public works projects such as the Eustis Street Fire Station and the Cochituate Stand Pipe.