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> Mission Hill
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The first settlers to Roxbury establish John Eliot
Square as the town center. Mission Hill is developed
as part of the town of Roxbury.
The Parker Hill area is divided into large estates.
The name derives from the property of wealthy merchant
John Parker (1757-1840).
Boston and Providence Railroad stops at Roxbury Crossing,
opening up Parker Hill to settlement.
Irish immigrants begin moving in following the railway,
jobs in the mills along Stoney Brook (the small river
at the base of Parker Hill), and recently laid sewerage
lines. The Irish community is a vital piece of Mission
Hill over a century, and gradually declines in the
last thirty years of the 20th century.
The Mission Church on Tremont Street is established.
A housing boom attracts more residents.
The Blessed Sacrament parish breaks away from the
Mission Church on the south side of town around Fisher
England Baptist Hospital is constructed. Its founder
is Dr. Francis Fremont Whittier (1852-1937).
School Sisters of Notre Dame open a Catholic grammar
school in the Mission Parish. Two thousand children
The St. Alphonsus Hall has a 1,300 member Athletic
Club and 1,142 seat theater.
The reservoir on the top of Hill is drained and the
Robert Breck Brighton Hospital is built on the site.
Mission Hill acquires its name: a combination of the
Mission Church and Parker Hill.
Local boy, Maurice Tobin, beats James Michael Curley
for Mayor. Tobin is later elected Governor, and later
as US President Harry Truman's Secretary of Labor.
Tobin Bridge named for him after his death.
The Mission Hill housing project opens on the site
of what had been slums. It is the first housing project
opened in the United States. Mayor Curley's brother
is the first manager of the project. It is intensely
political to get an apartment in the prestigious project.
Pope Pius XII pronounces the Mission Church a basilica
and it becomes Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope,
the Mission Church. It becomes known as "The Lourdes
in the Land of the Puritans" due to a reputation for
The Boston Redevelopment Authority builds high rise
apartments, called "Mission Hill Main" housing project,
near Huntington Avenue.
The Boston Housing Authority is forced to desegregate
its two Mission Hill projects.
Mission United Neighborhood Improvement Team (MUNIT)
holds a rally at the State House protesting the expansion
of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center at the expense
of 700 residential homes. This is part of the battle
by Boston neighborhoods against the Boston Redevelopment
Authority's plans for urban renewal. This is the early
stage of what will become a two-decade battle for
control of Mission Hill between the "institutions"
and the working class residents of Mission Hill.
The Black Panthers, a Black Power movement based in
Oakland, CA, establish their Boston base in Mission
Hill project. Harvard University students, protesting
the Vietnam War, decide to include "No Expansion"
by Harvard Medical School into Mission Hill as one
of their Strike's demands. The students win their
strike, and join wit the MUNIT groups over the next
Lahey Clinic purchases much of the "Backside of Mission
Hill and tears down the 3-decker homes. Eventually
they decide not to build the Clinic on Mission Hill,
choosing Bedford instead. The fight between the community
and Lahey catalyzes a group to fight Harvard. Harvard
vs. Mission Hill political battle rages over whether
Harvard will be able to buy property for a new generating
plant on Mission Hill. Eventually the Plant is built.
Harvard, however, reaches a compromise on housing
which leads to the development of Mission Park on
Huntington Avenue, which is owned and run by the "Roxbury
Tenants of Harvard."
Arson wave, some alleged to be set by landlords, leads
to about 10% of the housing stock on the Hill itself
being burned. After the 1983 Mayor Raymond Flynn is
able to quell the arson wave with a new approach to
arson prevention. New housing is built on the Back
side of Mission Hill where some of the worst fires
were, and where the Lahey clinic was to have been.
It is built by the Bricklayers Union.
Hill: The Boston 200 Neighborhood History Series.
Boston: Boston 200 Corporation, 1976.