Allston is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, located in the western part of the city. It was named after the American painter and poet Washington Allston. It comprises the land covered by the zip code 02134. For the most part, Allston is administered collectively with the adjacent neighborhood of Brighton. The two are often referred to together as "Allston-Brighton". Boston Police Department District D-14 covers the Allston-Brighton area and a Boston Fire Department Allston station is located in Union Square which houses Ladder 14 & Engine 41.
Housing stock varies but largely consists of brick apartment buildings, especially on Commonwealth Avenue and the streets directly off it, while areas further down Brighton Avenue, close to Brighton, are largely dotted with wooden triple-deckers. Lower Allston, across the Massachusetts Turnpike from the rest of Allston, consists of mostly 1890-1920s single-family and multi-family Victorian homes.
Allston was an eastern section of the former town of Brighton.
In 1867 a new railroad depot for the Boston and Albany railroad opened. In 1868 the station and post office in Brighton's eastern portion were given the name "Allston" after Washington Allston, the noted painter who had lived and worked across the Charles River in the Cambridgeport section of Cambridge. It can even be said to have been named for a specific painting: Washington Allston's "Fields West of Boston".
Allston has never existed as a separate political entity in its own right. The Town of Brighton was annexed by the City of Boston in 1874. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow owned several properties in Allston. In 1887 the wooden depot was replaced by the station depicted at the right. In 1888 Boston's first trolley route began there, running a route through Coolidge Corner, Brookline, to Boylston Street, to downtown Boston.
The Allston community developed largely around large railroad and livestock operations. The Boston and Albany Railroad (now CSX) operated a major yard. Stockyards and a large abattoir operated nearby in the northern part of Brighton. Much of the railroad yard remains in use today as the CSX Transportation Beacon Park Yard, but all livestock activity ended by the mid-20th century. CSX plans to move its yard operation west, allowing the plot to be redeveloped by Harvard.
A strip running from Brighton Avenue in Allston out Commonwealth Avenue toward Kenmore Square was Boston's original "Automile," lined with automobile dealerships. Packard's Sales Stable and Riding School gave Packard's Corner its name, which was then perpetuated by the presence of an opulent Packard dealership. Only a Toyota dealer and a Vespa dealer remain, but the windowed buildings along the eastern end of Brighton Avenue reflect this history.
The Massachusetts Turnpike Extension, built largely on part of the Boston and Albany right-of-way, opened through Allston in 1964 and 1965.
Major League Baseball's Boston Braves played at Braves Field, (now Boston University's Nickerson Field), at Allston's eastern edge, from 1915 to 1952. The Boston Patriots of the American Football League (now the New England Patriots of the National Football League) played four seasons in Allston: at Nickerson Field in 1960 through 1962; and at Harvard Stadium in 1970.
Allston is home to numerous small businesses and restaurants. Brighton Avenue, between Packard's Corner and Allston Street, alone boasts cuisine from China, Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, India and Thailand, in addition to traditional American and Italian food. Harvard Avenue hosts a number of furniture stores, thrift shops, and stores that offer items for resale, due to the large student body and high residential turnover.