History: City of Roxbury
From Roxbury's earliest days, commerce centered at Dudley Station, where Washington, Warren, and Dudley streets cross. By the turn of the 20th century, the area was a bustling mix of department stores, residential hotels, silent movie theaters, banks, and even a bowling alley, all designed by prominent Boston architects in a rich mixture of revival styles. Dudley Station itself opened in 1901 as the southern terminus of the Boston Elevated Railway, which ran to Sullivan Square in Charlestown and later became part of the Orange Line of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.
In 1885, Roxbury built the 527-acre Franklin Park, the largest park in Boston. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Franklin Park is the final jewel of the Emerald Necklace – the seven-mile stretch of public parks land that begins at Boston Common.
Until about 1900, Roxbury was a community of English, Iris, and German immigrants and their descendants. In the early 20th century, Roxbury became more diverse with the establishment of a Jewish community in the Grove Hall are along Blue Hill Avenue. Following a massive migration from the South to northern cities in the 1940s and 1950s, Roxbury became the center of the African-American community in Boston.