Jamaica Plain today is one of Boston's great suburban neighborhoods, but it has not always been connected to the city. The area has a rich and colorful history that stretches from its rural, pastoral beginnings in the seventeenth century. Jamaica Plain became a part of Roxbury, and later West Roxbury, and served as a summer playground for influential Bostonians before becoming part of Boston in 1874. Today, the neighborhood is a bustling suburban spot that has preserved its natural beauty and resources. Stories abound as to how Jamaica Plain derived its name; some trace it to the flow of rum shipments to the port of Boston following Oliver Cromwell's seizure of Jamaica in 1660. Regardless of how the name came to be, many agree that Jamaica Plain is one of the loveliest areas of New England. The neighborhood's beauty has been protected by such visionaries as Benjamin Bussey, who bequeathed his estate to Harvard College for what is now the Arnold Arboretum, and Henry A.S. Dearborn, the former mayor of Roxbury who established the Forest Hills Cemetery.
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