Sign of the times


Street signs are such an important part of the visual environment, and many neighbors have noticed how some Pill Hill street signs are made of thick cast aluminum with projecting black letters on round poles, while others are flat computer-generated versions on perforated square towers. The distinctive black and silver cast signs were crafted by local workers at a town foundry from 1937 through the 1960s. In recent years, however, their numbers have been diminished by natural attrition — car accidents, tree limbs, and theft; High Street, for whatever reason, seems to be a frequent target. The old signs have generally been replaced with mass-produced modern ones. The federal government also played a role in the demise of Brookline’s homemade signs, which appear to be unique in the United States.

A 2003 federal guideline stipulated that by 2012 all street signs were required to have six-inch letters, be retro-reflective, and on breakaway poles. In spite of this new regulation, a town warrant article in 2005 sought to maintain in place the existing cast aluminum street signs and restore missing ones. This well-intended article, however, wasn’t always respected when replacing the missing historic signs. A significant breakthrough came in 2012 when the High Street Hill Association, the Brookline Preservation Commission, Senator John Kerry and several other Northeast communities successfully lobbied for historic districts to be exempt from federal street sign requirements.

The High Street Hill Association received good news this spring after campaigning for over fifteen years to preserve and replace Pill Hill’s historic street signs. We were notified by the town that the specifications and documents required to restore all of the neighborhood’s missing historic signs and poles were nearly complete. This is not a small project. A 2015 High Street Hill Association inventory found that over half of them were missing. A date has not been set when the new historic signs and poles will begin appearing in our neighborhood. In the meantime, visit the HSHA website’s Neighborhood History for photos and a history of Brookline’s classic black and silver cast aluminum street signs.

High Street Hill Association Highlight — offline version

HSHA Paper Highlight Flyer

Once per year the HSHA distributes a paper version of The Highlight to every home in our neighborhood.  This is both as an opportunity to reach additional neighbors who are not yet subscribed to the e-Highlight and as part of our membership drive.  Thank you for your continued membership in the HSHA!  A copy of the paper flyer, with membership donation information, can be found here:

High Street Hill Association Annual Meeting May 1


Come one, come all to the High Street Hill Association’s Annual Meeting, Monday May 1st, 2017 at the Latvian Lutheran Church – 58 Irving Street — beginning at 6 pm with a Potluck Dinner (A-F please bring a salad, G-M a main dish, and N-Z dessert), wine and beer.

Our program will begin promptly at 7 pm, featuring A Conversation with Daniel C. O’Leary, Brookline’s Chief of Police. Chief O’Leary has been a member of the police department for nearly 40 years and chief of the department for the past two decades. Accompanying him will be several colleagues from the Brookline Police Department. Topics to be discussed include:

• Officer training in cultural differences and diversity

• Anti-discrimination and workplace safety polices

• Brookline as a “Sanctuary City”

• Impact of marijuana sales in Brookline

The HSHA Annual Business Meeting and Board Election will follow. The 2017 HSHA Board Candidate Slate is as follows:

Wendy Machmuller, President
Anthony Flint, Vice President
John Carpenter, Secretary
Matt Hyatt, Treasurer
Elizabeth Childs
Liz Craig-Olins (new)
Christopher Gates
Kim Ozaki
Diana Post
Margaret Talcott
Erik Wurster

Many thanks to Diana Post, who is stepping down as president after four years, and outgoing board member Andy Olins for their service to the neighborhood.

Pill Hill is a great place to live!

If you live in the Pill Hill Local Historic District, the High Street Hill Association is your neighborhood organization. The HSHA is committed to fostering and promoting the common interests of the residents. Please support your neighborhood by joining the HSHA each year. Check out our website at Follow us on Facebook

All politics is local

There’s no better expression of democracy than engaging in local government. To continue the dialogue, the Greater Point Neighborhood Association and High Street Hill Neighborhood Association present a special Candidates Forum, Thursday, April 13th
7:00-9:00 PM at the Lincoln School Cafeteria.

Brookline residents running for these townwide offices will present their ideas for the Town, and answer questions:

E-mail your questions to

It’s winter — time for a neighborhood author talk!

HSHA Author Event Featuring: Anthony Flint on Le Corbusier Sunday, February 12 4:15pm 28 Allerton Street.

Please join us for the latest in a series of events organized by the HSHA, to bring together neighborhood authors and artists with their neighbors. On Sunday, February 12, the Board is delighted to present one of its own – neighbor/board member/author Anthony Flint, a resident of Walnut Street and a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy ( Anthony has been a journalist most of his professional career, primarily at The Boston Globe, and continues to write for The Atlantic’s CityLab ( and other publications.
He will discuss his book Modern Man: The Life of LeCorbusier, Architect of Tomorrow (New Harvest, 2014). LeCorbusier was a pioneer of 20th century modernism, and while much criticized, left a legacy of solutions for housing the many millions of people moving to cities.

When:  Sunday, February 12,  join us at 4:15pm for Anthony’s presentation, followed by a reception of wine, cheese, and sweets.
Where:  The home of Margaret Talcott and Scott Scharer – 28 Allerton Street, cohosted by fellow HSHA Board members John Carpenter and Diana Post.

Books will be available for purchase that afternoon at a special HSHA discount.
More information on Anthony Flint:

Modern Man on Amazon:

Seating is limited, so please contact Diana Post at (or (617) 738-5096if you would like to attend


Keeping the Promise: Brookline’s Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please join together for Brookline’s annual celebration of the life and values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 3 pm Monday, January 16, 2017, at Coolidge Corner Theatre. The theme for this year’s event will be “Confronting Bias in Brookline.”

Rick Pinderhughes, Director of Programs at Vision, Inc., a non-profit training and consulting organization specializing in diversity and inclusion, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Pinderhughes will describe what implicit bias is and how it affects all of us, in our daily lives and in our institutions.

A panel discussion about what steps can and are being taken to confront bias in Brookline will follow. The panelists will be Rahsann Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the Massachusetts ACLU; Daniel O’Leary, Chief of the Brookline Police Department; and Andrew Bott, Superintendent of Public Schools of Brookline.

The program will also feature poetry and the inspirational words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This event is free but to guarantee a seat you must reserve a ticket beforehand at

  • Reserved tickets are available online until 11 pm Sunday, January 15. On the day of the event, Monday, January 16, any remaining tickets will be available only at the Coolidge Corner Theater box office.
  • If you are unable to get online please contact Rob Daves at 617-566-7334 or for tickets.
  • Seating is limited so come early. Doors will open at 2:30 pm.
  • Sign language interpretation will be provided. The Coolidge Corner Theater is accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre is located at 290 Harvard Street, just steps from the Coolidge Corner T-stop on the C branch of the Green Line and the Dudley Square #66 bus stop. If you need special assistance or need a ride please contact Rob Daves at 617-566-7334 or

Join the Soup Stroll

What better way to spend a brisk Sunday afternoon than join the High Street Hill Association Soup Stroll, Sunday, December 4th from 4-6 pm. Enjoy 6 delicious soups in 3 neighborhood locations. Strollers should arrive at the home of Kim Ozaki 8 Upland Rd, #2 at 4 pm. At 4:35 pm we will stroll to the home of Nancy Peabody 1162 Walnut St. and at 5:10 pm we move on to our final stop at the home of Michele Sommer 203 Pond Ave. 2 Different soups will be served at each location. Join to meet friends old and new, and appreciate different parts of the neighborhood, while tasting culinary wonders. RSVP

Come take a walk with Tom Brady

Come take a walk with Tom Brady! Tree Tour with Town Arborist
Sunday, May 15th 3:00 pm Departing from Edgehill Road
Join HSHA members and Brookline Tree Warden and town arborist, Thomas Brady, to discover the notable trees in our neighborhood. The walking tour will begin at the end of Edgehill Road where, this past fall, the High Street Hill Association planted a disease-resistant Princeton Elm in honor of Betsy and Gary Gross, long-time Edgehill residents and community leaders. From there, we’ll set off to see Weeping Hemlock, Tulip Poplar, London Pane, European Cutleaf Beech, Redwood, Yellow Wood, and Sourwood trees, and others. The one hour tour will conclude at 8 Upland Road, the home of Rob Daves and Jennifer Jackson where refreshments will be served on their beautiful porch.