South End Properties
The South End is next to Boston’s Back Bay district, and close to Beacon Hill and downtown Boston. It extends from Massachusetts Avenue on the west to Berkeley Avenue on the east, and north to south, from Columbus Avenue to Harrison Avenue. From its earliest years, the main commercial streets of the South End have been Washington Street, Tremont Street, and Columbus Avenue.
It’s hard to imagine that Boston’s trendy South End, with its brick and brownstone townhouses, tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, parks, playgrounds, and community gardens, was originally a narrow strip of land, the Boston Neck, connecting Boston to Roxbury and surrounded by a tidal marsh. Prior to the 1840s, the area included only a few mansions, set in open fields. In the 1840s, however, because Beacon Hill and the downtown area were overcrowded, the city added land to the Neck by filling in the marshy areas with earth imported from Needham, Massachusetts, to form the area now called the South End.
In the 1850s, Charles Bulfinch, a renowned architect, created a plan for the newly enlarged region. The plan included building connected brick bow-front (bay window) townhouses, with iron railings and tiny gardens surrounded by iron fences, and scattering small green parks, often with a fountain in the middle, throughout the area. For the next fifteen years, the new South End became the fashionable place for well-to-do young families to build their homes. The houses they constructed reflect a variety of different architectural styles, which, along with many beautiful churches, add to the visual interest of the area.