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The Allston neighborhood of Boston was originally the eastern half of the Brighton neighborhood. A new post office and railroad station were built in eastern Brighton after the end of the Civil War (around 1867) and named "Allston" after the painter Washington Allston. (Local historians have several theories why the new station was named after Washington Allston. The most likely explanation is that Allston had just finished the painting entitled "Fields West of Boston" that depicted the area near the new station.) There has never been a well-established border between Allston and Brighton, but Everett Street is the most oftenly used dividing line. When the Town of Brighton was annexed by Boston in 1874, Allston also became part of Boston.

As part of Brighton, Allston developed as a major center of railroad and livestock operations in New England. The main rail line into Boston bisected the neighborhood, and the Boston & Albany Railroad operated a massive rail yard. Both the rail line and yard still exist: CSX Transportation purchased the Boston & Albany Railroad and uses the rail yard as its Beacon Park Yard; while the much-diminished rail line still carries commuter rail and freight traffic (most of the rail line's right-of-way was used to construct the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension in the mid-1960s). Allston was also the home of most major auto dealerships in the Boston area in the early and mid 20th century, clustered around the intersection of Brighton Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. Only a few of the original 46 dealerships remain, but most of the buildings are still recognizeable as auto showrooms despite being repurposed as storefronts.

Present-day Allston is heavily populated by students, with almost 30% of the neighborhood's population attending a Boston-area college on a full time basis. Most of Boston University and a large part of Harvard University are located in Allston, and both plan to significantly expand their presence in the neighborhood. The large student population supports a correspondingly large number of bars and moderately priced restaurants. Large brick apartment buildings that are primarily occupied by students are located along the major roads, while smaller multi-family houses predominate secondary roads.

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1232 Commonwealth Avenue

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26 Hopedale Street

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202-206 Harvard Avenue


Allston Streets

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