> Boston's Neighborhoods
> South End
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The South End consists of a large bay and tidal flats
called South Cove. A neck of land called "Boston Neck"
connects Roxbury to Boston. It is the guarded by sentries
and is used as an execution site.
The South End is primarily open space with a few scattered
mansions around Summer Street. The main road is Washington
Street. Today, the area is the financial and retail
district around Milk and Essex Streets.
Charles Bulfinch drafts the original layout of the
South End with parks containing trees and fountains
along the residential streets to promote open space.
The neighborhood also has several examples of the
connected row houses that Bulfinch introduced to Boston
in the 1790s. Many of the later town houses are designed
by Nathaniel J. Bradlee (1829-1888).
The Dover Street bridge is constructed.
Jonas Chickering founds a piano company on Tremont
Street that produces 4,000 pianos a year. Three other
major piano companies soon follow: Hallet and Davis
in 1839 (Harrison Avenue, 2,500 pianos a year), Emerson
Piano Company at Harrison Avenue, and Vose and Sons
in 1851 (4,000 pianos annually).
Ellis S. Chesbrough and William P. Parrott further
develop Washington Street and connected areas.
The South Cove Company begins to extend the neighborhood
with landfill. By 1836, over 70 new acres have been
added to the area.
The Kahal Kadosh Ohabei Shalom (The Holy Community
Lovers of Peace) Synagogue is established in the South
End by primarily "Polish" Jews from East Prussia .
It is the first synagogue in Boston. It spins off,
in 1854, Congregation Adath Israel. Ohabei Shalom
moves several times until it settles on Beacon Street
German Catholics build the Church of the Holy Trinity
on Shawmut Avenue.
The Shawmut Congregational Church on Suffolk Street
is designed by C.E. Parker. The building features
a large bell tower.
Gridley J. Fox Bryant and Jean Lemoulnier design the
Deacon House for Edward Preble Deacon (1813-1851)
and his wife Sarah Annabella Parker Deacon. Their
granddaughters, Marie Gladys Deacon and Dorothy Evelyn
Deacon become The Duchess of Marlborough and Princess
Filling in South Cove and South Bay creates the "New
Chester Square is engineered by Ezra Lincoln. The
square includes the largest garden in the South End
that includes a fountain and fish pond.
Union Park is designed by Ellis S. Chesbrough.
Worcester Square is laid out with row houses and fenced
Gridley J. Fox Bryant designs Williams Market on Washington
and Dover (now East Berkeley). It later becomes a
vaudeville house and today is Harry the Greek's.
Luther Briggs Jr., nephew of Alexander Parris, designs
the Francis Dane House at Chester Square which is
now the site of the South End Historical Society.
The Dutch Jewish congregation Beth Eil is established
in the South End.
Middle class families move into the Tremont, Albany
Nathaniel J. Bradlee designs the Springfield Street
Congregational Church. Today it is a Baptist church.
The Gridley J. Fox Bryant designed Boston City Hospital
is built on Harrison Avenue.
The Hammett Billins designed Gothic style Tremont
Street Methodist Episcopal Church is the first church
in Boston constructed out of Roxbury puddingstone.
Boston College is built on Harrison Avenue. In 1913
it moves to Chestnut Hill.
The Patrick Keeley designed Cathedral of the Holy
Cross is built on Washington Street.
Irish Catholics begin building the Holy Cross Church
at Washington and Union Park. Patrick Keeley is the
Montgomery Street is laid out.
The Church of the Good Shepard is constructed on Cortes
Street. The first Reverend is Right Reverend F.D.
Huntington, future bishop of Central New York. The
Church of the Disciples is built on West Brookline
and Warren. Pastor James Freeman Clarke gave his congregation
an equal role to himself in their religious services.
The Odd Fellows Hall is built in the Gothic style
on Tremont and Berkeley. The organization provides
assistance to members during times of economic hardship.
Middle class residences quickly give way to working
class boarding houses after the Panic of 1873.
William Ralph Emerson designs the Massachusetts Homeopathic
Hospital on Harrison Avenue. It is the largest homeopathic
hospital in the United States.
The 420 foot long Boston Latin and English High School,
designed by George A. Clough, is the largest school
in the country at this time. It is now the site of
the McKinley School.
Colonel Albert A. Pope (1843-1909) founds a bicycle
company that makes Columbia Bicycles. He is responsible
for founding and popularizing the bicycle industry
in the United States.
The Cyclorama is built on Tremont Street. Inside,
a 400 feet long, two story high painting by Paul Philippoteaux
shows scenes from the Battle of Gettysburg while imported
canons, terrain, etc. add to the scene. Today, the
building is home to the Boston Center for the Arts.
The German oriented Temple Adath Israel is designed
by Weissbein and Jones. When the congregation moves,
the building successively becomes the North Russell
Street African Methodist Episcopal Church and then
the Columbus Avenue Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
Trade union members carrying banners from each of
their trades parade up Columbus Avenue on May Day
as part of a strike for the 8-Hour Day. Boston and
Chicago are the centers of the national strike. Irish,
German, and Jewish immigrants along with Yankee craft
South Ender John
L. Sullivan wins the last bareknuckle heavyweight
boxing match in the United States in the 75th round
against Jake Kilrain.
The Edmund March Wheelwright designed Boston Fire
Department headquarters is constructed on Bristol
Street. The design is based on the Palazzo Vecchio
in Florence, Italy. Today, the building is home to
the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter.
The first settlement house in Boston, the South End
House, is opened by William Jewett Tucker, a Theology
professor and run by Robert Archey Woods (1865-1925).
It offers clubs, activities, and a meeting place for
inner city folk. It attracts many immigrants from
the amazingly diverse South End population.
The South End (Walpole Street) Grounds baseball field
is destroyed by fire during a game after a long career
as the home to many teams including: the Rustlers,
the Red Caps, the Doves, and the Boston Bean Eaters.
South End resident Alexander Hamilton Rice (1818-1895)
dies after a long political career that includes terms
as mayor of Boston (1856-1857), congressman, and governor
The Elevated railway is built along Washington Street
with a terminus at Dudley Square in Roxbury. It is
later extended to Forest Hills.
The population of the South End includes Jews, Syrians,
Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, Chinese, West Indians,
African-Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans.
Immigrants move out of the South End. They are replaced
by World War II veterans and Native Americans.
The South End's lower income residents are involved
in urban renewal conflicts with Mayor John F. Collins
administration. In a controversial move, Boston Redevelopment
Agency Director Edward Logue has several blocks in
the South End leveled and new housing built.
The South End is a hotbed of activism in the school
boycotts called against the Boston School Committee
to integrate the Boston Public Schools.
Tent City occupation of the Boston Redevelopment Agency-demolished
land at the corner of Dartmouth and Columbus Avenue
, led by activist Melvin King, in the wake of the
assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. leads the
BRA not to build on the site for twenty years. King
is elected as the South End's state representative
Puerto Ricans and later Dominicans increasingly move
into the South End. Inquilino Boricuas en Acion-Puerto
Rican Tenants in Action (IBA) takes over Parcel 19,
and builds Villa Victoria, a tenant run housing project.
The South End is named a Landmark District.
South End residents vote on a referendum to secede
from Boston and form their own city, with Roxbury
as a principal part of the new city called Mandela.
It is voted down.
The end of rent control in Boston leads to an increase
in the departure of African American, West Indian
and Latino South End residents, and an influx in white
The South End is the largest preserved Victorian neighborhood
in the United States. Its boundaries are East Berkeley,
Lenox, and Albany Streets.
H. King. Chains of Change. Boston: South End
Anthony Mitchell. The South End. Images of
America Series. Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1998.
South End. The Boston 200 Neighborhood History
Series. Boston: Boston 200 Corporation, 1976