Located on Harvard Avenue, which was originally called the “Road to the Colleges” in Coolidge Corner, the Brookline Arcade is one of the greatest commercial buildings in Brookline. As the residential character of Harvard Street began to turn more commercial in the 1920s, additional small commercial spaces were needed for the growing surrounding residential neighborhoods, and developer J. J. Johnston sought to maximize his parcel there. He hired architect George N. Jacobs, a relatively unknown architect in Boston who creatively designed the site.
Measuring 80′ in width and 150′ in depth, the two-story cast stone Commercial Gothic style building consists of five bays, with two store fronts on either side of the central arcade entrance. Above the storefronts, a stone frieze and gothic spires project upwards, standing out among the more traditional buildings nearby. At the interior, you walk to a modest single-story lobby which opens to a full-height arcade with vaulted skylight above. Stores line both sides of the space and many have original storefront designs and features. The space is a smaller version of the Westminster (Providence) Arcade.