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Brookline is a suburban town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, on the western edge of Boston and east of Newton. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 58,732. Brookline was first settled in 1638 as a hamlet in Boston, but was incorporated as a separate town in 1705. Located just minutes from Boston, Brookline offers residents and visitors a charming mix of vibrant urban life and attractive suburban amenities. Brookline is home to a variety of independent boutiques, restaurants and cultural institutions, including the Kennedy National Historic site, Allandale Farm and the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
As close as Brookline is to Boston, it has managed to maintain its own identity. Brookline features a mixture of urban and suburban living, upscale shops and recreational parks, apartment buildings and large estates. Along with offering both a city atmosphere and a feeling of being in the country, there is a wide mix of people in Brookline. It is the home of many academic and scientific professionals who work at the nearby medical centers in Boston. Brookline has staunchly refused to be absorbed by Boston, which surrounds it like a horseshoe. Brookline has kept its town meeting form of government since its 1705 incorporation. It also has an overnight on-street parking ban which is unusual for such a dense area. Among its many unusual resources, Brookline has its own working farm (with farm stand), the oldest country club in the nation, a town golf course, a park on a hillside overlooking Boston with an open-air skating rink and transportation museum, as well as numerous neighborhood parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the town.
Its major retail centers, including Coolidge Corner, Brookline Village, Washington Square, Cleveland Circle and the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center, are pedestrian-oriented shopping areas with a variety of stores, restaurants and malls.
Although predominantly residential, Brookline is somewhat open to new commercial development, and has amended its zoning to encourage limited growth along its major thoroughfares.
The northern part of Brookline, roughly north of the D-line tracks, is urban in character, as highly walkable and transit rich. The population density of this part of town is nearly 20,000 inhabitants per square mile (8,000 /km2), on a par with the densest neighborhoods in nearby Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea (the densest cities in New England), and just below that of central Boston's residential districts (Back Bay, South End, Fenway, etc.). The overall density of Brookline, which also includes suburban districts and grand estates south of the D-line, is still higher than that of many of the largest cities in the United States, especially in the South and West. Brookline borders Newton (part of Middlesex County) to the west and Boston (part of Suffolk County) to the east, north, south, northwest, and southwest; it is therefore non-contiguous with any other part of Norfolk County. While Brookline shares similarities with many northeastern urban neighborhoods, such as Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Brookline is unique in that it is a separate town. Brookline became an exclave in 1873, when the neighboring town of West Roxbury was annexed by Boston (and left Norfolk County to join Suffolk County) and Brookline refused to be annexed by Boston after the Brookline-Boston annexation debate of 1873.
Brookline separates the bulk of the city of Boston (except for a narrow neck or corridor near the Charles River) from its westernmost neighborhoods of Allston-Brighton, which had been the separate town of Brighton until annexed by Boston in 1873.
Brookline Zip Codes: 02445, 02446, 02447, 02467
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