Brookline: “No We’re Not Part of Boston!”

Fire Hydrants on the Brookline Brighton Border

Though surrounded by Boston, the 300-year-old town of Brookline is its own city. At the border of Brookline and Brighton—a neighborhood of Boston—you can see that each town seems not to take account of the other, at least with regard to fire hydrant placement (hydrants usually are more than just ten feet apart).

From what I’ve observed these hydrants’ colors are characteristic of their respective cities (Brighton/Boston on the left). Here they guard the DMZ, daring each other’s fire department to save a burning building in the wrong municipality.


  1. Fun photo!

    Other than their color, the hydrants do look the same, but the fittings may actually be different. I’m guessing that’s the case, and they’re so close to provide full coverage, considering such a difference.

    I know in NYC on 9/11 and the days following, fire departments from New Jersey and NY suburbs came into the city to fill in. Their hoses wouldn’t connect to the NYC hydrants, so the out-of-towners had to be matched up with remaining FDNY fire engines. As a result, their rigs were somewhat useless, but they gave valuable manpower.

  2. Great photo here! Remind me, do you guys live in Brookline or Boston? And do have a strong sense of loyalty to your own hood? I think they should make t-shirts with each city’s color of fire hydrant on it. A great bonding technique.

  3. Sorry, I’ve been mentally derailed by a Boston street named for Bernado O’Higgins, dictator of Chile, 1818-1823. Can’t even blame the honor on the Catholic presence in Boston because O’Higgins got himself in trouble (and eventually exiled to Peru) by being overly tolerant of Protestants. Is there a Bolivar street? A San Martin street?

  4. Will, we do live in Boston. I don’t know about loyalty to the hood, but maybe the hydrant colors could be a good test of gang membership: “You say you’re from Brookline–so tell us the colors and we’ll let you go.”

  5. Dad, the explanation is that the Chilean embassy is right there, which brings up another question: why is there a Chilean embassy in the basement of some house in Brighton?

       Chilean Consulate

  6. Bet you’d also have to look pretty far afield to find another sign for a foreign consulate posted on an electric meter.

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