The Roslindale Historical Society


rialto theatre.jpg

The Rialto Theater, 1946


     This photo shows the Rialto Theater with a gorgeous Art-Deco front! By the time I went to the Rialto in the early 1960s, the theater had changed over to a sleeker (but less engaging) design.

     The theater opened sometime in the 1920s under the ownership of Gorman's Amusement Properties. It had a huge Wurlitzer Theater Organ for silent films; the organ was still there when the Rialto finally closed down in the seventies. The site is now home to the Greater Roslindale Medical And Dental Center.

     Note the small grocery store next to the theater entrance in the space now occupied by the Rialto Barber Shop; I'd bet dollars to dimes that "Henry's Fruitland" was the original location of the "Henry's" variety store on Walter Street near Fallon Field.

- Tim Casey, Webmaster

Own a home in Roslindale? Research its history!

We've got some great links for you to do research on your home! Thanks to Elizabeth Graham-Meredith for the following info:


To search for the permit filed to build your house, please go to:
(note: it may not work on some browsers. If you can't see the results of your search, try using another browser.)

If you do find the permit for the application to build, you can contact the Boston Public Library ( and give them the permit number and they may be able to pull the original building plans for your home. You can then go to the main branch of the public library to view them and take pictures (you cannot take the plans out of the library). 


The library also has a handy website that lists other sources in which you can use to find information on your home: 


If you believe your home was built prior to 1874 when the town of West Roxbury (including Roslindale) became a part of Boston, you can also search the Norfolk county records (this is helpful for land sale records especially) as they will date back to the 1790s: 


The atlases created for Boston and West Roxbury for fire and insurance purposes are also a wealth of knowledge. These will contain street maps, showing who owns what property at different points in time and can help narrow down the time period to find when a home was built if no permit exists in the Boston permit search. You can view these at the Leventhal Map online collection here:

Footnote from Tim Casey, webmaster:

I researched our own home and found the building permit for its construction, dated 1907. However, the home was built in 1897 - the builder actually signed and dated the plastered wall in our hallway; we discovered it when we stripped the wallpaper off in the 1960s. Also, the fire insurance map of the area shows the house on the 1899 map. I trust those maps because the insurance companies were financially dependent on their accuracy. The permit came ten years later - which means that the house was built without a permit!


Roslindale Historical Society,Jamaica Plain Historical Society
collaborate on "Stories Of Mount Hope Cemetery" 


April 5th was the Ching Ming Festival, also known as "Tomb-Sweeping Day in English, a day when people of Chinese descent visit the tombs of their ancestors to clean the gravesites.

You can read more about it here:

Roslindale Around The Web

Global Boston: Roslindale

An excellent short history of Roslindale by Marilynn S. Johnson of Boston College, this page also includes links to articles about longtime Roslindale residents Josef Porteleki (Roslindale Hardware), Tasula Macrides, and Tony DeBenedictis (Tony's Market).


A project of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, Atlascope is an interactive layered system of antique surveying maps of Boston. With it, one can see how the neighborhoods, streets, and even lots have changed since the 1800s. A rabbit hole you definitely want to go down!