> Boston's Neighborhoods
> North End
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The first ferry to Charlestown begins its route, leaving
from Hudson Point, named after ferryman Francis Hudson.
North, Hanover, and Salem Streets are laid out.
The North Battery is built for the defense of the
area. It later gives its name to Battery Wharf.
The Second Church of Boston (North Church) is built
in North Square. It is destroyed in the devastating
fire of 1676, but is immediately rebuilt.
John Hull of Sheafe Street mints the first coins in
Boston. Another North Ender, John Cony (1655-1722),
engraves the template for Boston's first printed money.
Copp's Hill (formerly Windmill, Mill, and Snow Hill)
Burying Ground is created. The Hill is named for shoemaker
Increase Mather (1639-1723), pastor of the Second
Church in North Square, writes The Wicked Man's
Portion, the first book published in Boston (by
publisher John Foster). Increase is succeeded by his
Mather (1663-1728), the author of Magnalia
Christi Americana, as the head of the Second
North Square is destroyed by fire. At the time, North
Square is the center of Boston market life and only
a block from the wharves on the harbor.
The Mather-Eliot House is built on Hanover Street.
In the late 19th century, it becomes a home for Azorean
The Baptist Church is built on Salem Street.
Paul Revere's (1735-1818) future House
is built. In the early 20th century, it becomes an
Italian Bank and cigar shop.
North End resident Increase Mather (1639-1723) travels
to England where he convinces King William III to
grant the colonies a second charter. Mather is prominent
in the defending (and physically hiding) the original
colonial charter granted by King Charles I which gave
the Puritans a large measure of autonomy and which
the English subsequently try to revoke. While the
second charter is more restrictive than the first,
Mather does succeed in getting a new governor appointed
to the colonies. The new governor is named William
Phips, a Maine native who worked as a ship's carpenter
in the North End.
The Hutchinson House is built on the corner of Garden
Court and Fleet Street. It is the first example of
Classical style architecture in Boston. Home to Governor
Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780), the house is extensively
damaged (Hutchinson barely escapes with his life)
in 1765 by a mob enraged by the Stamp Act.
The North Latin (Grammar) School is given to the city
by Captain Thomas Hutchinson.
The New North Church is constructed. Charles Bulfinch
redesigns the building in 1802. Paul Revere makes
the church bells. In 1863, the church becomes St.
Stephen's, a Roman Catholic place of worship and the
only remaining Bulfinch-designed church in Boston.
The Old North (Christ Church) Church, the oldest continuously
operational church in Boston, is constructed using
a design by William Price. It is the second Anglican
church built in the North End. In 1774, Paul Revere
installs the first church bells in America in its
tower. Later, during the Revolution, Robert Newman
hangs lanterns in the tower as a signal that the British
Paul Revere is born in the North End.
Reverend Samuel Mather (1706-1785), the son of Cotton
Mather, leaves the Second Church. He brings his followers
to a new building on Hanover and North Bennett Streets
where they found the 10th Congregational Church. In
1785, this building becomes Reverend John Murray's
First Universalist Church.
Peter Faneuil (1700-1743) presents Faneuil Hall, "The
Cradle of Liberty," to the city.
The Gray House is built on Prince Street. After the
Battle of Bunker Hill (1775), British troops use the
building as a hospital.
Paul Revere arranges with the sexton of Christ's Church
(the Old North) to hang lanterns in the church belfry
signaling the direction the British will be taking
in their expedition to seize the arms the patriots
have been collecting at Concord; Revere crosses the
Charles River from the North End to begin his famous
"Midnight Ride"; British troops gather in
North Square prior to their departure for Concord.
After the Revolution, loyalists move out of the neighborhood.
The increase in the construction of docks, warehouses,
etc. make the once posh neighborhood less desirable.
In the early 1800s, the wealthy begin moving to the
West End around the time of World War I.
After the Revolution, loyalists move out of the neighborhood.
The increase in the construction of docks and warehouses
make the once posh neighborhood less desirable. In
the early 1800s, residents begin moving to the West
End and later Back Bay.
The Charles River Bridge, the first bridge out of
Boston, is constructed and connects the North End
to neighboring Charlestown.
The North Latin School, at Hartt's Shipyard on the
North End waterfront, becomes part of the North Writing
School and today is the oldest grammar school in the
Paul Revere, goldsmith, silversmith, engraver, powder
mill operator, and patriot founds the Charitable Mechanics
Hanover and North Bennett Streets is the location
of the second Methodist Church in Boston. In 1828,
a new building is constructed which today is St. John
the Baptist, a Portuguese church.
Constitution, known as "Old Ironsides,"
The Columbian Artillery, an Irish military group,
is founded and is stationed on Cooper Street.
The Baldwin Place Baptist Church is built on Salem
Street. It is later home to the Home for Little Wanderers
(1865) and the Temple Beth Israel (1889-1920).
Quincy Market, designed by Alexander Parris (1780-1852),
is constructed on landfill at Dock Square and named
after Boston's second mayor, Josiah Quincy (1772-1864).
The "Beehive" brothel is raided by a mob
of incensed citizens. At the time, Ann Street is known
for its gambling, bars, crime, sailors, and whorehouses.
The area is known as "Black Sea" or "Murder
Oyster House, built by Hopestill Capen, opens
on Union and Marshall Streets. The building is formerly
the location of Isaiah Thomas' Massachusetts Spy
during the American Revolutionary period and the home
of exiled King Louis Phillipe of France after the
Seaman's Bethel is constructed in North Square. There,
Reverend Edward Taylor (1793-1871) gives religious
instruction primarily to sailors.
The Marquis Nicholas Reggio, who serves as Consul
in Boston of the Papal States, Kingdom of Sardinia,
and Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, settles in the North
The first Catholic church in the North End, St. Mary's
of the Sacred Heart, is built.
The First Universalist Church is built on Hanover
Street for Reverend John Murray, the founder of Universalism.
Phips Mansion is converted into the Asylum for Indigent
Boys to provide services to immigrants.
The "Old Cockerel" Church is built on Hanover
The Mariners' House is built in North Square, catering
to passing sailors.
Barney McGinniskin, an Irishman living in the North
End, becomes the first Irish Police officer in Boston.
His critics claim that he will be unable to do his
job since he will primarily be arresting fellow Irishmen.
A victim of politics, he is fired in 1852.
Colonel Thomas Cass of North Bennett Street is killed
in action leading the Irish 9th MA regiment in the
Irish immigrant Andrew Carney (1794-1864) founds Carney
Hospital for the poor. That same year, North End Irish
riot on Prince and Cooper Streets after police come
with conscription papers. Six are killed. John F.
"Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, United States Congressman,
Mayor of Boston, and grandfather of President John
F. Kennedy, is born on Ferry Street.
Twelve Italian priests are listed in the official
diocese records of Boston.
Three Order of the Friars Minor (Franciscans) become
the first priests of an Italian language ministry:
Emiliano Gerbi, Vincent Borgialli, and Angelo Conterno.
Saint Leonard's is built becoming the second oldest
Italian church in America and oldest in Boston. At
the same time, the Italian-Portuguese Catholic Church
St. John the Baptist is dedicated on North Bennett
Street. Bishop John Williams pays $28,000 for the
former Free Will Baptist Meeting House. Father Angelo
Conterno is appointed to serve as the Italian priest
and Father John Ignazio Azevedo as the Portuguese
priest. A two year fundraising contest is held to
determine which ethnic group will get official ownership
of the building. The Portuguese win by out-fundraising
the Italians $12,000 to $10,000.
Father Joachim Guerrini raises money to purchase the
Hooten Estate at the corner of Prince and Hanover
Streets which becomes Saint Leonard of Port Maurice,
the first official church of all Italians -- especially
the Genoese and Neopolitans. The congregation contains
nearly 1,500 Genoese in Boston proper, North End Italians
from Genoa, Naples, Parma, Piacenza, etc. and 2,000
Merrimack Valley and South Shore Italians covering
an area of over 1,000 square miles.
Saint Mary's of the Sacred Heart Church is rebuilt
following a design of Patrick Keeley.
After a falling into debt, Father Guerrini moves to
New York to escape his creditors. He is replaced by
Father Boniface Bragantini who presides from 1878
to 1887 over a mostly Genoese parish suddenly besieged
by increasing numbers of Irish parishioners and Southern
Italians who cause the Northern Italians to withdraw
to other parts of the city.
The North Bennet Street School is founded to give
immigrants vocational instruction.
The Children's Mission builds the first playground
for children in the country.
Rose Kennedy, eldest child of John F. "Honey
Fitz" Fitzgerald, and mother of President John
F. Kennedy, is born at 4 Garden Court, near North
At this time the North End and the West End are the
centers for Jewish life in Boston. Within twenty years
this has shifted to the South End and Roxbury, and
the North End becomes the center of Italian life.
North End butchers start a trust on kosher meats that
prompts a meat strike by Jewish housewives in the
North End, where many Jews live. North End artisan
Luigi Totino does the mosaic work in the Hall of Flags
in the Massachusetts State House.
North Station is constructed.
Italian North End settlements now include the block
bordered by Prince, Salem, Tileston, and Hanover Streets
(home to Abruzzi and Neapolitans) as well as the triangle
bordered by North Square and Hanover and Fulton Streets
(home to Campanians from the towns of Taurasi, Chiusano
San Domenico, and Mirabella Eclano in the Province
of Avellino 30 miles from Naples -- the largest group
from any Italian province including Sicily). The Genoese
continued to live on North Bennett Street and Court.
North End rivals Calcutta, India in density of population.
Sicilians start settling along North and Fleet Streets
in the North End near the fish pier which they utilized
more than any other Italian group. This area is also
home to the Calabrians as well as the Commercial Street
area. Avellinese increase and spread into Shaefe St./Copps
Hill as well as North Square. The Genoese community
decreases as many move into Charlestown.
The Italian St. John's School is founded.
North Ender John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald
is elected Mayor of Boston.
Guiseppe Parziale introduces pizza at his shop on
Massachusetts General Court recognizes Columbus Day
as an official holiday in response to pressure from
North End Italians.
Norman Franzein establishes the Maplewood Caddy Camp
that allows North End boys to leave the city for the
Beth Israel Hospital opens on Salem Street. North
Ender Joseph Cefalo is the first man drafted for World
A molasses storage tank explodes burying twenty-one
people and many horses in two million gallons of molasses.
The Spanish influenza kills many North Enders. A group
of Italian merchants and professional men from the
North End join forces to found the Home for Italian
Children in Jamaica Plain to care for the orphans
of the victims of the epidemic.
The North End is 90% Italian.
Joseph Campana, "The Father of Credit Unions,"
opens the first credit union in the country using
$14.25. Two years later he has 243 clients and over
Nicola Saco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants
and admitted anarchists, are executed at the Charlestown
Jail for a fatal 1920 robbery in South Braintree,
Massachusetts, despite international protest and suspicion
they were innocent. Their wake, held at the Langone
Funeral Parlor on the North End's Hanover Street,
is attended by 100,000 mourners. Their funeral procession,
which carries their bodies to the Forest Hills Cemetery
for cremation, consisting of some 50,000 marchers,
originates in the North End Playground on Commercial
Street. This is said to have been the biggest funeral
ever held in Boston.
Robert Chase and other "Bohemian" artists
move into the North End.
Joseph Langone Jr. is elected state senator. He is
the first Italian elected to a major public office
and breaks decades of domination by Irish politicians
despite the weak Irish physical presence in the North
End at this time.
The Paul Revere Mall or Prado is designed by Arthur
Shurcliff on Webster Ave.
Italian immigrant, Charles Ponzi, is deported after
earning $15 million largely off North End Italian
immigrants with his "Ponzi Scheme" money
Two parochial high schools, Columbus High School for
boys and Julie Billiart High School for girls, are
the first high schools in the neighborhood.
The North End Branch Library holds the first of its
annual, popular puppet shows.
North End born self-made millionaire John Defarrari
donates $3 million to the Boston Public Library. The
Defarrari wing at the Boston Public Library is named
in his honor.
Despite protests, construction begins on the Southeast
Expressway resulting in the loss of many buildings
in the neighborhood.
Jane Jacobs writes about the North End in her book
The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
Richard Cardinal Cushing restores St. Stephen's Church.
Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech in the Old North
Church in honor of the United States Bicentennial.
Marco, William. Ethnics and Enclaves: Boston's
North End. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press,
The Boston 200 Neighborhood History Series. Boston:
Boston 200 Corporation, 1976.
Gloria, "Boston's North End: A Historical Study
of Assimilation and Multiculturalism in an Urban Neighborhood,"
American Cultures: Assimilation and Multiculturalism,
edited by Elzbieta H. Oleksy. Bethesda, MD: International
Scholars Publication, 1996.
Anthony Mitchell. The North End. Images of
America Series. Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1997.
John F. International Conflict in an American City:
Boston's Irish, Italians, and Jews 1935-1944.
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979.