Aspinwall Hill is a drumlin, which is a geological landform created during the last ice age when an ice sheet hundreds of feet thick moved over this years. The last glacial period ended about 12,000 – 10,000 years ago. Generally, most drumlins are oval or ovoid in shape and trend northwest to southeast (the direction of glacial advance). They can have a length as much as three times their width, ranging from a few hundred feet to nearly a mile. In height they can range from tens of feet to over 1oo feet, and they generally have steep sides.

Aspinwall Hill is a “classic” drumlin, approximately 220 feet in elevation above sea level, one mile in length, and just under half a mile wide (although some of the periphery of the hill has been trimmed by development and through the creation of Washington and Beacon Streets).  Other local drumlins include Corey Hill, Fisher Hill, and Chestnut Hill.

The Aspinwalls were one of the early families to settle in Brookline when Peter Aspinwall bought land from William Colborne in 1650 and built a house near the intersection of St. Paul Street and Aspinwall Avenue. In 1788, his great grandson, Dr. William Aspinwall, bought land on what is now Aspinwall Hill. The only other house on the Hill until about 1885 was the house built by Lewis Tappan in the late 1820s, near what is today Gardner Road, on land bought from the Croft farm.

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