(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
Hyde Park celebrates the centennial of its 1912 annexation to Boston this weekend at the Hyde Park Branch Library.
The event will feature a birthday cake and other refreshments following a noontime presentation on the neighborhood’s history by local historian and author Anthony Sammarco, who has written two books on Hyde Park.
The City of Boston Archives is also marking the anniversary by making a selection of documents and images from Hyde Park available for viewing at its website.
In an interview last year upon the publication of his book “Hyde Park: Then and Now,” Sammarco reflected on how the area has changed over time.
“I think a lot of times people don’t realize that even in our grandparents’ time, what was there has changed sometimes two times, even three times,” he said. “So some of the buildings that I show in the book are the original things from the 1860s and ’70s, and then they were replaced by the time of World War I, so it’s a fascinating glimpse into this neighborhood.”
In 1868, a group of men known as the Twenty Associates founded Hyde Park on 100 acres of land on the Neponset River that had been parts of Dedham, Dorchester, and Milton. The town quickly became a desirable place to live because it was accessible from downtown Boston by streetcar and commuter rail but maintained a suburban feel, with many single-family houses on large lots with tree-lined streets.
The small town grew to a population of about 1,500 by 1887, and by the turn of the 20th century, its had risen to around 15,000. In 1912, it became the last of the outlying towns annexed by Boston.
Like many Boston neighborhoods, Hyde Park has been home to successive waves of immigrants. In the 2011 interview, Sammarco noted many parallels between the immigrant families who came to the neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and immigrants settling in Hyde Park today, some of whom have been students in his local history course at the Urban College of Boston.
“You know, 100 years ago, it was the emerging middle class of Italians and Irish and Polish — those were the primary ethnic groups [in Hyde Park],” he said. “And today, 100 years later, it’s the emerging middle class of Haitians, Jamaicans, Bahamians, and Latinos. And … the same things that they want, the people wanted 100 years ago.”
Sammarco will present a slideshow based on “Hyde Park: Then and Now” at noon on Saturday, April 28, at the Hyde Park Branch Library, 35 Harvard Ave. His talk will be followed by a reception with birthday cake and other refreshments. Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a lifelong Hyde Park resident, and other elected officials have been invited to attend. Call 617-361-2524 for more information.
“Celebrating Hyde Park: Documents and Images from the City of Boston Archives” contains materials from its years as an independent town as well as the past century as a neighborhood of Boston. It includes sections on the town founding, town government, the annexation, elections and politics, schools, and a selection of historic maps. Click here to view the exhibit.