John Hancock, Massachusetts first governor, moves to Jamaica Plain in 1777 after resigning from presidency of the Continental Congress of the United States.
Samuel Adams, Massachusetts second governor moves to the 40-acre Peacock estate at Centre and Allandale Streets in 1794.
Arnold Arboretum is developed in 1872. It features some of the finest tree and plant specimens in the world. The first president of the Arboretum is Charles Sprague Sargent, Harvard professor and cousin of painter John Singer Sargent.
Forest Hills Cemetery is constructed in 1848. The Crematory in the cemetery is the first in the country. The first person cremated is Lucy Stone (1818-1893), the first female from Massachusetts to graduate from college (Oberlin), as well as the first woman editor (The Women’s Journal). She keeps her maiden name when she marries, which also may have been a first.
Horatio Greenough, who was born in Jamaica Plain in 1805, became America’s first professional sculptor.
The home of Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) stood at 130 Prince Street. She shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her service on behalf of world peace and women’s suffrage, the first Bostonian to achieve that honor.
Sylvia Plath, the poet and author of The Bell Jar, was born at 24 Prince Street in 1932.
James Drummond Dole (1877-1958) grew up at 14 Roanoke Avenue, the son of the pastor of the First Unitarian Church in Jamaica Plain. He traveled to the Sandwich Islands in 1901, where he is credited with establishing the Hawaiian pineapple industry when he founded his Hawaiian Pineapple Company which became Dole Food Company.
In 1870 Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911) was the first woman admitted to MIT. She was a woman pioneer in scientific education, and was one of the founders of the American Association of University Women. Her varied career included early studies in urban sanitation and industrial chemistry. She is credited with starting the home economics movement in America and used her home at 32 Eliot Street as a laboratory for “home ecology”.
A center of the Jamaica Plain community for more than a century, the Footlight Club was founded in 1877 to “furnish pleasant and useful entertainment by the aid of drama.” In 1889 the Footlight Club moved to Eliot Hall at 12 Eliot Street where it continues to perform as the oldest community theater company in the United States.
20 Robinwood Avenue is the girlhood home of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers (1882-1955), who founded the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in 1921. This was the first group of Catholic sisters in the United States to commit to lives of service overseas.