Lawrence Neighborhood Association has been active at least since the early 1970s. Our boundaries include Beacon Street (south side), Aspinwall Avenue, and St. Paul and Kent. Streets. This area was developed in the late 1800s and has many large and interesting Victorian homes as well as rowhomes. Our school was built in 1873 is named after the prominent abolitionist leader Amos A. Lawrence.
There are many reasons why people enjoy living in this neighborhood: we are close to two branches of the green line, within walking distance of shopping in both Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village, and we have a fine school as our centerpiece. Visitors always notice the large trees that shade our streets and the porches that encourage conversation with passersby. The original housing stock has many fine examples of Queen Anne, Shingle Style and Colonial Revival homes with the lively detailing that makes walking a visual pleasure.
Because we are located close to the border of Boston, nearby institutions have also seen the advantage of owning property here and this has sometimes resulted in problems. Our Neighborhood Association is essential in maintaining communications with the universities and Longwood Medical Area over questions of traffic, noise and compatibility with a residential neighborhood.
With homes that are now over 130 years old we have had our ups and downs. New energy was apparent in the 1970s as homeowners applied for construction loans through the Town’s HUD block grant program. At the same time LNA decided to solve the problem of an “attractive nuisance” – an empty Knights of Columbus building near the school that was attracting vandals. Working with the Town, LNA had this building razed, the property acquired as parkland and a new playground built.
LNA also spearheaded an effort to control emissions from the nearby MASCO/MATEP project, which generated energy by burning hospital waste. The town and LNA were successful in requiring scrubbers to be added to the smoke stacks to trap particulate matter. Monitoring sites to measure air quality were also installed.
This delightful neighborhood has been a target for developers for some time and the pressure is now even more intense. One of the tools available to protect our neighborhood is the establishment of a Local Historic District. We are very pleased that in 2011 Town Meeting conferred this status on the area covering parts of Newell Road, Kent Street, Kent Square and Francis Street.
Co-chairs: Emiley Lockhart and Ruth Gass
Secretary: Irwin Price
Treasurer : Susan Gore