Notice All SPRING In-House Classes and Workshops are canceled
Find a Class
We hold classes across Boston through our School and Community Partnerships, and in two locations in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood: our Schoolhouse and Annex.
Schoolhouse & Annex
You will find our Registrar and Facilities team in the office at the back of the wood shop at our Schoolhouse. The rest of our administrative staff have their offices in our Annex.
Our Annex houses our only handicapped-accessible classroom. Please let us know if you use a wheelchair or have other mobility challenges, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Eliot Street Schoolhouse • 24 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain
The Eliot Schoolhouse is located in a residential neighborhood just off of Centre Street, near the Soldiers Monument, between the Jamaicaway and the intersection of South Street and Centre Street. The neighborhood, known as Monument Square, contains many beautiful 19th and 20th century homes, green space and points of historical interest.
The Footlight Club, First Church Unitarian Universalist, The Soldier's Monument and Loring-Greenough House are all part of this rich historical district. Jamaica Pond, a popular walking destination, sits at one end of Eliot Street, and the Arnold Arboretum is also nearby. At the other end, shops, galleries and restaurants line Centre Street, with opportunities to eat or shop before or after class.
Stopping for a cup of coffee, a snack, lunch or dinner? Want to schedule a haircut, or buy some toys? Consider patronizing our local business sponsors. Let them know you appreciate their generous support of the Eliot School.
For parents who have a child in classes here and other young children to take care of at the same time, you are welcome to play in our yard. In addition, Brewer Street Tot Lot is half a block away. Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum are nearby natural areas. Jamaica Plain Branch Library is also a few blocks away, with a well stocked, friendly children’s room. Several local eateries on Centre Street are comfortable places for quick snacks with (or without) kids.
Neighbors play an important role in supporting the Eliot School Donations and volunteer hours help maintain our grounds. You can help treat the yard responsibly. Please keep trash off the grass, treat others with respect, remind dog owners to leash their dogs, and let us know if anything seems amiss.
Dog owners MUST keep all dogs on leash at all times. The Boston Leash Law is in effect on our property. Please take all waste away with you when you leave.
The school does not have its own parking lot. Free on-street parking is usually available on surrounding streets. Check for street cleaning signs (active April through October) to avoid tickets before 6pm.
A free lighted parking lot can be found one block away off Centre and Burroughs Streets, behind Blanchards Liquors.
If you are transporting heavy furniture, pull up through the gate to our front door, unload your furniture, then go park nearby. You may not leave your car in our walkway or in our yard.
In periods of heavy snow build-up, it can be challenging to find a parking spot. Please leave yourself extra time for parking.
Find directions here.
Amory Street Annex • 253 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain
Our Administrative offices and Annex classroom are located at 253 Amory Street. The Annex classroom is on the ground floor to the left at the back of the parking lot, with a red door. Our offices are located up the external stairs to the left of the Annex classroom, on the second floor.
A half block away, the Jamaica Plain Brewery Complex which houses several nonprofits, Ula Café, Bella Luna & Milky Way restaurants and the original Samuel Adams Brewery & Tap Room. Chilacates Amory Street and City Feed & Supply offer quick dining options nearby, as well as several restaurants within walking distance, on Washington Street.
The Southwest Corridor Park runs behind our building and connects Back Bay to Forest Hills, with 4.1 miles of walking and bicycle paths. Just behind our building, you will find a basketball court, playgrounds and a child-friendly water-spray area which is active in summer.
We do have a small lot attached to our building, and you may park in any available spot – but space is limited. If no spot is available, you can usually find parking along the adjacent side streets. Make sure to check for street cleaning signs.
Find directions here.
Planning for Space Expansion
We are currently in a planning phase, aiming to ultimately secure improved space for our programs.
In 2018, designLAB architects and G2 Collaborative Landscape Architecture assessed our needs and developed conceptual plans for what it might look like to expand at our Eliot Street site.
In 2019, Jennifer Gilbert and Traggorth Companies researched options for moving partly or wholly to an alternate site.
In 2020, the Eliot School board will enter a period of decision-making to define the path forward.
Throughout, community members – students, instructors, staff, donors, neighbors and others – have participated in conversations about how new space might best serve the Eliot School's vision. A Project Committee, made up of trustees, advisors and others, meets regularly to help inform the process.
More about Space Expansion
- The Eliot School's mission is to inspire lifelong learning in craftsmanship and creativity for all. We cultivate welcoming environments where people convene across a continuum of age, economic means and backgrounds to build skills, craftsmanship and community. Our offerings satisfy the human desires to create, engage in self-expression and learn by doing, and our vision builds upon the school's historic role in shaping education in fine and applied arts
- We are continuing a long-range planning and research process aimed to secure expanded and improved space for our programs.
- In 2018, designLAB architects and G2 Collaborative Landscape Architects undertook a feasibility study and completed a set of drawings showing a possible solution to renovate and expand our schoolhouse on Eliot Street.
- This initial phase of work was informed by a community process involving hundreds of neighbors, students and other stakeholders. Our staff gathered feedback at 10 meetings of community organizations, three interactive community Open Houses, four block gatherings and dozens of one-on-one meetings with neighbors in their homes.
- In 2019, the team of Jennifer Gilbert and Traggorth Companies researched alternative options for moving partly or wholly to an alternate site. This includes a traffic/parking survey for students and faculty, land appraisal and other work. A community gathering in June collected feedback and ideas from 75 attendees.
- In 2020, the Eliot School board will hold a further community Open House and weigh options from the research in order to decide what path to take forward.
- We value our close relationships with neighbors, students, faculty, donors and other stakeholders and will keep all informed throughout the process.
- Our current schoolhouse was built in 1831. Manual arts have been taught here since the 1870s.
- Our work now reaches more than 2,000 children in Boston's public schools and community centers, 1,100 adults and 500 children in our own classrooms, 14 teens in our Teen Bridge program, an Artist in Residence, and thousands who attend events including our faculty showcase at JP Open Studios, family holiday workshops, talks, exhibitions, offsite events like our woodworking workshops at Boston Children’s Museum’s Mini-Maker Faire, and others.
- In the 1999–2000 school year, we taught 399 students. Since then, we have grown nearly ten-fold.
- Having outgrown our schoolhouse, we now also rent 1,100 square feet elsewhere for administration and classes, hire a Pod for supplies storage every summer, and hold meetings offsite. Yet we are still pressed for space.
- We are committed to provide handicapped access and proper stairs, modern restrooms, a waiting area for parents, a reception desk, energy efficiency and proper egress. Achieving these would take up one-third to one-half of the footprint of our schoolhouse today. We also need to provide adequate room for students and staff to work at their best.
- The facilities issues we are now addressing have been on the table for more than 15 years. The Eliot School board is committed to addressing this critical need.
Eliot School Locations Over the Centuries
1676—Several residents give land to fund a new school. John Ruggles gives the triangular piece of land where the Soldiers Monument now stands. Hugh and Clement Thomas give their house, orchard, lot and night pasture on condition that residents will take care of them as they age. Others also donate smaller pieces of land.
1689—Rev. John Eliot donates 75 acres in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, the Fens and beyond.
During the next 150 years, the Eliot School sequentially occupies three local sites before settling on Eliot Street:
- First, it occupies two different buildings in the area where the Soldiers Monument is now.
- By 1787, the school is at the corner of Centre and Green Streets, near current City Feed & Supply.
And over 260 years, it leases out parcels of its land, then sells the land bit by bit.
19th century—Eliot School purchases additional land, including on Burroughs Street.
Early 19th century—Eliot School owns 21 acres in Jamaica Plain, including its present site.
1824—Abigail Brewer bequeaths land; the Eliot School opens the Brewer School for sewing, reading and spelling. This lasts in some form until around 1846.
1831—Eliot School constructs its schoolhouse at 24 Eliot Street.
1842—Eliot School founds Eliot High School, with genders separated into different departments.
1855—The Girls' Department moves to Village Hall, where the municipal parking lot is now behind Blanchards Liquors.
1858—The Boys' Department moves there, too. The building at 24 Eliot Street is leased to the town, which uses it as a primary school.
1868—Eliot High School moves to a new building on Elm Street.
1874—The town of West Roxbury is annexed to the City of Boston. Eliot School gives its high school to the Boston Public Schools; it becomes West Roxbury High School, later Jamaica Plain High School, and today, condos. Eliot School moves back to 24 Eliot Street and decides to focus on manual training.
1892—With programs booming, Eliot School adds a decorative cupola and foyer to its schoolhouse.
1910—1917—The rear annex is added in stages to the back of the schoolhouse, and plans (never realized) are drawn to add classrooms in the attic.
2014—Having outgrown administrative space at the schoolhouse, Eliot School rents office space in the basement of 891 Centre Street, kitty-corner across the Arborway from the Arnold Arboretum.
2016—891 Centre Street is sold. Eliot School moves its administrative staff to rented space at 253 Amory Street.
2018—The school expands its administrative space at 253 Amory Street and adds, on the first floor, its first handicapped accessible classroom.