Harriswood Crescent was built in 1889-90 at the height of Roxbury’s development as a streetcar suburb which coincided with the electrification of the streetcar lines in Boston. The area of Roxbury in which the Crescent is located, known at the time as Boston Highlands due to its rocky terrain and steep grades, was an extremely desirable residential location. As land values raised, middle and upper-class families looked for varied housing types that fit their demands. Seen as a great investment of the family estate, the heirs of wealthy businessman Horatio Harris (1821-1876) redeveloped lots on one side of a rocky park for fine townhouses, which were named Harriswood Crescent. The name was probably chosen for its historical associations with Boston’s Tontine Crescent and the great Georgian crescents of London and Bath in England. Architect J. Williams Beal designed the row, which was one of his first commissions upon returning to Boston in 1888 after employment as a draftsman at McKim, Mead & White and a long study in England to view architecture. Built at 15 separate units, the row of Tudor style houses is among the only of such developments in Boston, and New England at large.