Founded in 1630 (contemporaneously with Boston), West Roxbury, Massachusetts was originally part of the town of Roxbury and was mainly used as farmland. West Roxbury seceded from Roxbury in 1851, and was annexed by Boston in 1874. The town included the neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale.
West Roxbury is a neighborhood in Boston bordered by Roslindale to the northeast, the Towns of Dedham and Needham to the west and south, the Town of Brookline to the north, and the City of Newton to the west. West Roxbury is often mistakenly confused with Roxbury, but the two are not connected. West Roxbury is separated from Roxbury by Jamaica Plain and Roslindale.
West Roxbury's main commercial thoroughfare is Centre Street. The neighborhood has tree-lined streets and mostly single family homes; many of Boston's civil servants live there. There are many people of Irish descent and a smaller number of Irish immigrants.
West Roxbury is home to District E-5 of the Boston Police Department and two Boston fire stations, Ladder 25 & Engine 30 on Centre Street and Engine 55 on Washington Street. The Needham Branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail network has three stations in West Roxbury (Bellevue, Highland and West Roxbury). Several MBTA bus lines run through and/or terminate in West Roxbury. A large Veterans Affairs hospital is located opposite the Charles River on the VFW Parkway near the Dedham line. West Roxbury is home to several places of worship, including three Catholic parishes, churches of various Protestant denominations, and a Jewish synagogue.
The neighborhood was home to an experimental transcendentalist Utopian community called Brook Farm, which attracted notable figures including Margaret Fuller and Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose 1852 novel The Blithedale Romance, is based on his stay there.
Like its neighboring communities, West Roxbury's residential development grew with the construction of the West Roxbury branch of the Boston and Providence Rail Road; the area grew further with the development of electric streetcars.