Dorchester Historical Society

Dorchester House Tour | June 12

  • Visit a dozen delightful homes and carriage houses and talk with their owners.
  • See how these 19th century homes have been preserved, restored, and transformed for 21st century living.  
  • Tour the historic 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, and learn about its award-winning restoration.

When: Sunday, June 12 12pm-5pm, (Doors open at 11:30a.m for ticket sales and advance-purchase check in. )

Where: Self-guided tour begins at the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, 209 Ashmont Street. 


Tickets:  >> Read More

EMK Institute Guided Tour with Dorchester Historical Society | April 17

To mark the birthday of Edward Everett, Dorchester Historical Society has arranged for an exclusive guided tour for its members and has secured a group rate of $8 (regular admission is $14). Meet at the Institute where a special check-in area for DHS will be set up on the day of the program. You must arrive on time to participate in the guided tour.


Where: Emk Institute, 210 Morrissey Boulevard Boston, MA 02125

When: Sun April 17, 1pm

To purchase tickets: please visit

Who Was Oliver Optic? | April 2

Rediscover the lost works of Dorchester resident “Oliver Optic,” a.k.a. William T. Adams. In this hour-long talk, author Peter Walther will discuss Adams, a dearly beloved writer of popular juvenile during the latter half of the nineteenth century and the author of 126 books and over 1,000 stories. 

A practicing musician, Peter Walther is a member of the prestigious American Antiquarian Society and belongs to both the Elgar and the Donizetti Societies in England. He is also a reviewer for the North American Jules Verne Society.

This event is co-hosted by the Dorchester Historical Society.

When: Saturday, April 2 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Where: Fields Corner Branch, 1520 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester 02122

The Black Community of Colonial Dorchester | Feb 21

Dorchester Historical Society presents local historian Alex Goldfeld, who will talk about Colonial Dorchester & Boston exploring what is known about Sebastian Kane, Dorchester's first Black  landowner and other people African decent in a predominantly white colony. Alex Goldfeld will also use his original research on Boston's "New Guinea" neighborhood to explore black life over three centuries ago.


When: Sunday, Feb 21, 2pm

Where: Dorchester Historical Society, 195 Boston St., Dorchester, MA  02125 


This program is free and open to the public.

Historic Tour of Franklin Park | June 7

overlook shelter
Join Julie Arrison, from Historic New England and author of Images of America: Franklin Park, on a tour of Frederick Law Olmsted's prized Boston landscape. Learn about the history of the park, the Zoo, and structures that still exist within the park. Highlights include a stop at the old bear dens, the Playstead Overlook, and Schoolmaster Hill. Rain or shine. Wear comfortable shoes for walking. There will be hills and stairs.
When: Sunday, June 7th
Where: Franklin Park
Meet at the Giraffe (back) Entrance to the Zoo
Pierpoint Road, Dorchester
For more info: Call the Franklin Park Coalition at (617)442-4141 or visit

Hidden Treasures of Dorchester: Architecture of the Railroad Suburb by Andrew Saxe | April 19

photo of old dorchester architecture

Mr. Saxe will give his popular talk on the history of Dorchester architecture for the third time. Refreshed and revised, with new research, new photos and a more historical photos, Mr. Saxe's lecture examines the history of Dorchester's first three hundred years through the changing styles of its houses.  As one of the oldest towns in the United States, and one effected by sweeping social and economic changes, Dorchester presents an unusually textured picture of American history.  From Puritans, to Tories, to Patriots, Industrialists, Victorian professionals, and immigrant Irish, Dorchester's residents built their homes in ways that reflected political, religious and aesthetic beliefs of their era. Few towns have experienced such an evolution or posses such a rich variety of historical styles.  While sadly many of Dorchester's grand estates have been demolished, happily hundreds of homes have survived and are being restored by the town's latest generation.


Mr. Saxe uses a mix of the collections of historic photographs from the Society's own archives, from Historic New England and Boston Public Library. The bulk of his lecture, though, presents extant houses in their current condition from his own archive of over 10,000 vivid photos taken since his move to Melville Park in 2008 from the South End.  Following his last talk to the DHS in 2013, Mr. Saxe was asked to write on this topic for Design New England and to address the Boston Society of Architects.


When:  April 19th


Where: New England Carpenter's Center

750 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester

For more info: visit

Urban Religion and the Origins of Addiction Recovery | March 22

urban religion and addiction recovery image

Eoin Cannon, aide to Boston's Mayor Martin J. Walsh and author of The Saloon and the Mission. Tales of surviving the depths of addiction are among the most popular stories in American culture today, combining compelling drama with spiritual uplift and psychological insight. At the same time, story-telling plays an important role in recovery practices. When did Americans start telling recovery stories and why? Eoin Cannon traces this phenomenon to the evangelical Christian missions run by reformed drunkards in American cities in the late 19th century. 


When: Sunday, March 22nd


Where: William Clapp House

195 Boston Street, Dorchester

For more info: contact the Dorchester Historical Society at (617) 265-7802


Three Decker: Symbol and Stereotype | Nov. 16

Three Decker: Symbol and Stereotype | Nov. 16

Three-Decker: Symbol and Stereotype

Dorchester Historical Society

195 Boston Street, Dorchester, MA 02125
2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014
The William Clapp House

Diane Jacobsohn, PhD will examine why three-deckers are considered a form of vernacular architecture peculiar to New England, as well as some of the exceptions.  Through the lens of social history, she will describe how a popular multifamily dwelling became a symbol of undesirable housing by the 1920s. Despite the negative stereotypes, three-deckers were an attractive housing option, and many still are today. Her focus is on three-deckers in the Boston area.





Dorchester Historical Society BTS | May 18

On May 18, Dorchester Historical Society (195 Boston Street) goes behind the scenes to allow visitors of all ages a peak at spaces in its properties that are not usually open to the public. From 11am to 4pm, anyone and everyone is invited to explore the nooks and crannies... from attics to basements, kitchens to barns... that give the Society's buildings their special character and historical significance.

Sweet History Stroll Along Neponset in Lower Mills | May 10

On Saturday, May 10 join a DCR Park Ranger and Dorchester Historical Society President Earl Taylor on a scenic stroll in Milton and Dorchester Lower Mills to find out more about the similarities between chocolate and the Neponset River. This event will begin at 1 pm.

Explore former Baker Chocolate Factory site and learn about the sweet history of Lower Mills as part of Historic Preservation Month in Massachusetts. The tour will end at the Baker Chocolate Artists Lofts and attendees will have the chance to learn more about the DCR's Historic Curatorship Program that is for children ages 10 and up. Interested individuals will meet at the public parking lot in Milton Lower Mills, beside Milton Yacht Club at 36 Wharf Street in Milton, parking is limited. Public transportation is encourage via Milton Station of the MBTA Mattapan High Speed Line. 

Photo Credit: Andy Ryan

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