Aberdeen was originally part of the town of Brighton, which was annexed by Boston in 1873.  Development began in earnest in Aberdeen during the mid-1880s, with the introduction of the electric trolley to Beacon Street.  Aberdeen was developed as a “Romantic Suburb” consisting primarily of free-standing residential buildings.  The large, ornate houses, laid out on a plan of winding roads that respected the land’s natural contours, were built as homes for the families of men commuting to work in Boston on the newly electrified transit system. 

Apartments and other multi-family dwellings first appeared in Aberdeen around 1909.  Between 1910 and 1930 the population of Allston-Brighton doubled, necessitating the development of multi-family buildings to accommodate the growing demand for a home away from the city center.  Many immigrant families, tired of living in dirty and crowded inner-city areas, were drawn to the bucolic image of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen’s development was hugely dependent upon the advent of mass transit and the automobile.  Beginning in 1910, a number of one-story commercial blocks began appearing on the corners of highly trafficked streets, meant to attract the attention and patronage of the motoring public.  By 1920, a new Classical Revival style garage was built to provide parking for the growing number of automobiles.  These structures, meant to cater to a newly mobile population, indicated a shift in the role of the suburb to a place centered much more heavily on the automobile and other forms of transit. 

A variety of architectural styles are represented in Aberdeen, including the Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle styles.


The Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District was designated in 2001.

Scope of Review

All exterior work that is, or will be, visible from any public way is subject to Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District Commission review.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work that is visible from a public way. 

In Aberdeen, changes to front yards and landscape materials are also subject to Commission review.  See the Standards and Criteria for the Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District Commission for further information.

Applications, application instructions, and a schedule of filing deadlines and hearing dates are available below.  To save time and costs, property owners and developers are encouraged to contact staff early on in the project planning process, in order to obtain information on compliance with guidelines.

Lissa Schwab, preservation planner for the Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District, may be reached at lissa.schwab@boston.gov or at 617-635-3850.

  • Please note that Commission staff is not available to review applications for completeness immediately upon submittal. 

  • Please review all instructions and documentation requirements carefully before submitting your application. 

  • It is your responsibility to ensure the application is complete before submittal.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Aberdeen Information

Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, and Exemption Application


  • AACDC Agenda June 2016

    The Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District Commission will hold a hearing on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in the Piemonte Room, 5th floor, Boston City Hall. The agenda is posted below.

    AACDC Agenda June 2016 REVISED

Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District Agenda Archive

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