Campus & Community

Allston-Brighton celebrates its 200th birthday

3 min read

More than 300 guests attended a gala event on Nov. 17 at the new WGBH offices on Guest Street in Brighton in honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Brighton and Allston communities.

The celebration was the culmination of a year of events to commemorate the historic bicentennial, which included the opening of the Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum, a street fair in Allston, and a river festival in Herter Park along the banks of the Charles River.

Attendees were treated to hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in the impressive Yawkey Atrium at the WGBH headquarters with its sky-high ceilings, formidable walls of concrete and steel, and a Plexiglas catwalk. In the corner of the room stood a large two-tier cake covered in red, white, and blue icing with the celebration’s logo of a steer to honor the community’s history as a stockyard. The night included the sounds of the seven-piece Boston Soul Revue band and Herb Reed and the Platters.

Also in attendance was Harvard President Drew Faust, fresh from a two-hour trip back from New Haven, Conn., where she watched the Crimson beat Yale to capture the Ivy League title.

“She represents history, this event represents history, and I am so glad that she came,” said celebration committee member and longtime Allston resident Joan Pasquale. “It was a perfect addition.”

“The mere fact that she would make such an effort to get here,” said the celebration’s co-chair Theresa Hynes, “says a lot about how she feels about the neighborhood.”

In a brief address to the audience, Faust, herself a historian, remarked on the significance of the occasion and Harvard’s commitment to future collaboration with the community.

The 124-year tradition of the Harvard/Yale football game, she said, “pales in comparison to the age of your community and what you’re celebrating and the traditions that inspire all of you who have gathered here tonight.

“We at Harvard are very excited to be sharing some of this history with you and to be thinking about making history with you in the future, and so we look forward to this collaboration and to intersecting our destinies and our paths and our futures in new ways that benefit all of us.”

Harvard’s donation to the bicentennial was in large part what made planning the yearlong celebration possible, said Hynes.“We are deeply, deeply grateful.”

John Bruno, a member of the Harvard Allston Task Force, said he is looking forward to future cooperation between Harvard and the community.

“The neighborhood welcomes something like this because there are so many plusses that could come out of [it] … because of what Harvard is and what this community is,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”