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South Boston

South Boston
Neighborhood of Boston
South Boston from the air
South Boston from the air
Nickname(s): Southie
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Suffolk
Neighborhood of Boston
Annexed by Boston 1804
Population (2010) 35,200
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
Zip Code 02127
Area code(s) 617 / 857

South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood of American Revolutionary War. South Boston's real estate market has exploded in recent years and South Boston has seen property values join the highest in the city. The Departed, filmed in South Boston, was based on Whitey Bulger, an organized crime head from South Boston.


  • History 1
    • Waterfront redevelopment 1.1
  • Schools 2
  • Places of worship 3
  • Community Resources 4
    • Community resources and organizations List 4.1
  • Parks 5
    • Shoreline of Dorchester Bay 5.1
    • Thomas Park 5.2
    • M Street Park 5.3
  • Demographics 6
  • Urban Policy 7
  • Public housing 8
  • Transportation 9
  • Movies about South Boston 10
  • Notable residents 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • Further reading 14
  • External links 15


Dorchester neck can be seen on this early map of Boston in the lower right.
South Boston in 1888 ("Süd Boston" on this German map.)

Geographically, Dorchester Neck was an isthmus, a narrow strip of land that connected the mainland of the colonial settlement of Dorchester with Dorchester Heights. Landfill has since greatly increased the amount of land on the eastern side of the historical neck, and widened the connection to the mainland to the point that South Boston is no longer considered separate from it. South Boston gained an identity separate from Dorchester, but the two were annexed by Boston in pieces, from 1804[1] to 1870.

During the Fort William and Mary for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fort William and Mary was replaced with a brick fortification known as Fort Independence. That fort was replaced by a granite fortification (bearing the same name) prior to the American Civil War, and still stands on Castle Island as a National Historic Landmark. Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Castle Island for five months in 1827 and was inspired to write The Cask of Amontillado based on an early Castle Island legend.

During the 1970s, South Boston received national attention for its opposition to court-mandated school (de facto) desegregation by busing students to different neighborhoods.

South Boston includes what is thought to be the first Vietnam veterans memorial in the United States. It predated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., by 13 months. It was dedicated on September 13, 1981 and is located at Independence Square, which is more commonly called M Street Park.[2]

In the 1990s, South Boston became the focus for a Supreme Court case on the right of gay and lesbian groups to participate in the Saint Patrick's Day (Evacuation Day) parade. The case was decided in favor of the parade's sponsors when the United States Supreme Court supported the South Boston Allied War Veterans' right to determine who can participate in their annual St. Patrick's Day parade.[3] In 1996 local Dorchester author Paul Walkowski and Attorney William Connolly detailed the case in their book "From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court".[4]

In the early 21st century, property values, especially in the City Point neighborhood near Castle Island, rose to the level of some of the highest in the city. The City Point area of South Boston, labeled "East Side" by realtors, has seen a major increase in property values due to its close proximity to downtown Boston and gentrification. The "West Side" of South Boston, also known as the "lower end" by lifelong residents, though slower to begin the gentrification process also benefits from the proximity to not only downtown but also the popular South End. Additionally, the West Side is home to the first green residence (Gold LEED certified) in Boston — the Macallen Building which was featured in the movie The Greening of Southie.[5] The City of Boston is investing in the West Side through developments like the ~150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) mixed use (residential and commercial) building being developed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority on West Broadway.

Waterfront redevelopment

New convention center
The Federal Courthouse on Fan Pier
Institute of Contemporary Art

The section of South Boston north of First Street has been targeted for massive redevelopment by the administration of Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).[6] Initially referred to as the "Seaport District" by the BRA, this area was officially restyled the "South Boston Waterfront" after virulent protest from natives and local politicians, including City Council President James M. Kelly.[7] However, it is still also referred to as the Seaport District as of 2012.[8][9] The South Boston Waterfront area is part of the Port of Boston on Boston Harbor. While the area is not clearly defined, the Fort Point Channel forms one border and some parts of the area are also included in Fort Point neighborhood, an older, more historic term.

According to the Boston Waterfront Guide, the South Boston Waterfront has 55 restaurants, four hotels, and nine major attractions, and continues to grow.[10] The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center straddles D Street. The Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center is located on Commonwealth Pier. A new home for the Institute of Contemporary Art hangs over Boston Harbor just north of Northern Avenue. The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse is on Fan Pier.[8] The South Boston Waterfront, in a massive renaissance, has exploded in recent years; considered "the hottest, fastest-growing real estate market in the country",[11] the Waterfront has seen an enormous construction boom. The "Innovation District," as ex-mayor Tom Menino termed it, is now home to tens of new office towers, residential buildings, and "innovation labs" either proposed or under construction.[12] As of September 2010, the Seaport Square project was also under planning. It was expected to cost $3 billion and replace parking lots between the federal courthouse and convention center with a 6,300,000-square-foot (590,000 m2) mixed-use development. Construction was expected to begin in 2011.[13]

The Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) Project, also known as the "Big Dig", has created a completely new transportation network for this area.[14] The Silver Line of the MBTA provides public transportation to the area, and the Boston Harborwalk runs through it.

Due to the increase in nightlife in the neighborhood, on street parking for residents has become increasingly scarce. In response, city officials are launching a 90-day pilot program that will expand resident only parking to seven days a week, from four. The aim, according to City Council President Bill Linehan is to address the scarcity of parking for residents on weekends.[15]


Public schools are operated by Boston Public Schools.


  • South Boston High School (9-12)
  • James Condon Elementary School (K–5)
  • Joseph P. Tynan School (K–5)
  • Michael J. Perkins School (K–5)
  • Oliver Hazard Perry School (K–8)
  • UP Academy Charter School of Boston (6–8)


  • St. Peter Academy (Preschool–8)
  • South Boston Catholic Academy (K–6) (formerly St. Brigid's School and Gate of Heaven which were combined)
  • Julie's Family Learning Center (Montessori Preschool)
  • Labouré Center Early Childhood Services (Preschool)
  • South Boston University (University)
  • Cultural and language schools:
    • Szkola Jezyka Polskiego w Bostonie (John Paul II Polish School for Children and Teens)
    • Wood's School of Irish Dance

Places of worship

Mural in South Boston saying "Welcome to South Boston" in English and "Fáilte go mBoston dheas" in Irish. Also shown is a Celtic cross, the coats of arms of the Provinces of Ireland and the words "Sinn Féin" "Irish Republican Army" and "NORAID." This Mural has been torn down along with the building to make way for resident housing.

Catholic Churches

  • Gate of Heaven Parish
  • Our Lady of Czestochowa (Polish)
  • Saint Monica – Saint Augustine (currently merged)
  • Saint Peter (Lithuanian)
  • Saint Vincent de Paul[16]
  • Our Lady of Good Voyage
  • Saint Brigid

Albanian Orthodox Churches

  • St George Cathedral: Located near the intersection of East and West Broadway, St George is the largest Orthodox Christian house of worship in Massachusetts. As the mother church of the Albanian diocese, the Cathedral serves as episcopal seat of Bishop Nikon, Bishop of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese.
  • Albanian Holy Trinity Church, Kisha Shqiptare e Shen Trinise: Located at 245 D Street Boston, Massachusetts 02127.
  • St John the Baptist


  • St Matthew and the Redeemer (former)


  • South Baptist Church, at 80 L Street[17][18]
  • Hub Church


  • Fourth Presbyterian Church

Community Resources

Community resources are easy to access for both new residents and residents that have lived in the South Boston area all their lives. The resources that are also available range from a wide array of services specifically designed to fit peoples individual requirements. South Boston has two places children can enjoy, the first being the Neighborhood House and the second being the Boys and Girls Club. The South Boston Neighborhood House is located at 136 H Street in South Boston. While the Boys and Girls club is located at 50 Congress Street, Suite 730. The main program that has been in place at the Neighborhood House is called the Ollie program which as been around for approximately 113 years. What the program does is it provides services for families so they can stay whole and grow through learning to stay healthy, literacy, and both academic and social skills that are necessary for everyday life.[19] The Boys and Girls club which is similar to the South Boston Neighborhood House, both strive for a better tomorrow for the community as a collective whole. However, the Boys and Girls club specifically targets the youth of the community by ensuring positive leadership, communication, and social skills necessary to bring forth change within the community, starting with the children.[20] There is also public housing and food services who the citizens of South Boston who require such needs. The food assistance is available at schools and other locations throughout the area of South Boston to assist the citizens to make sure they do not go hungry.[21] The public housing is run through MassHousing, which offers plans for people to rent or buy affordable property.[22] There is also and elderly assistance and elderly abuse hotline to keep the older loved ones safe from harm. There is also Fuel assistance and Legal assistance to anyone who needs it in South Boston. The Fuel assistance is available all year around, and especially in the winter so people don't have to be cold due their lack of fuel.[23][24]

Community resources and organizations List

  • South Boston Neighborhood House[25]
  • South Boston Boys and Girls Club (Part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston)[26]
  • Labouré Center[27]
  • South Boston Branch Library[28]
  • South Boston Community Health Center[29]
  • South Boston Action Center
  • Paraclete Center
  • Tynan Community Center
  • PAL Gym


Carson Beach at sunrise
Marine Park at City Point

Shoreline of Dorchester Bay

Fort Independence, a pentagonal five-bastioned, granite fort built between 1834 and 1851, is the dominating feature of Castle Island. This 22-acre urban park is connected to the mainland by both pedestrian and vehicular causeways. Pleasure Bay, the M Street Beach and Carson Beach form a three-mile segment of parkland and beach along the South Boston shoreline of Dorchester Bay. Carson Beach offers some beautiful views and great public amenities: a rehabilitated Mothers' Rest, public restrooms, exhibit space, first aid and lifeguard functions, while the outdoor courtyards allow space for passive recreation. Carson Beach also features a walkway which allows one to walk, bike, or run along the water's edge from Castle Island to the Kennedy Library.

Fort Independence and Castle Island are on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the fort is a National Historic Landmark. Fort Independence is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, hours vary. Fort tours are conducted by the Castle Island Association in the summer months and there is interpretive signage for self-guided tours. The principal program theme, the History of Castle Island, stresses the role of the fort in harbor defense."[30]

Thomas Park

Atop the Dorchester Heights hill sits a tall monument commemorating the Patriot battery that drove the British out of Boston. A popular site to view the Fourth of July fireworks, the Thomas Park (the oval drive around Dorchester Heights) area is one of the most attractive areas in South Boston.

M Street Park

Between M and N streets and north of Broadway, the M Street Park was one of the most desirable addresses in Boston in the late 19th century, and the brownstone buildings overlooking the park on the south side of the park remain some of the best examples of this style of architecture in New England. M Street Park is also home to the 1st standing Vietnam memorial in the nation included in this memorial are all the names of the South Boston residents who gave their lives fighting for the freedom of the United States. Also a popular spot for, families, dog lovers, and for watching the St Patrick's Day Parade. In addition also, two softball fields, little league field, basketball court, and play ground all contribute to the beautiful neighborhood which is South Boston.


South Boston is traditionally an Irish working-class neighborhood ever since the Irish migrated to Boston due to the infamous Great Famine that occurred in Ireland. However, since then the neighborhood has continued to diversify and blend different cultures and ethnic backgrounds together. As of the 2010 Census the total population is estimated to be around 35,200.,[31] with whites representing 76.3% of the population. The Hispanic and Latino population has grown to 10.8% and the Black population grew to 6.5%. Another notable ethnic group that calls South Boston home are people of Asian descent. The Asian people in the neighborhood of South Boston make up 4.71% of the population currently living there. When race and age intersect it is interesting to note that the percent of White folks above the age of 18 increases while all the other ethnic groups decreases. The White population as it stands in the most recent data is 80.19%. While the Black population is at 5.55%, Hispanic population at 8.54%, and Asian population at 4.39%. Currently 92.03% of the current housing in South Boston is occupied while approximately 7.97% of the current housing is vacant.[31]

Urban Policy

Article 89 Article 89 is urban policy pertaining to Agriculture. This Code specifically is about urban agricultural activities through the Boston area, mainly farming. Other aspects of agriculture that are mentioned are soil safety and composting. According to rules and regulations regarding composting in South Boston, the policy states that the compost maximum height can be no greater than 10 feet and must remain a minimum of 5 feet from property lines.[32] Although the farming community maybe smaller than compared in the Southern parts of the United States but there is still interest in rural activities that take place in urban cities despite peoples popular belief that a city, especially one as urban as Boston, would not have rural activities and practices that it's citizens could proudly take part in as often as they would like.

Olympic Bidding of 2024 South Boston has been nominated to be selected to be the host city for the Olympics in the year 2024 by the Olympic Selection Committee. Supporters of the Boston 2024 Olympics are hopeful the 70,000 new temporary jobs will bring in money to the community, while people opposing the Boston 2024 campaign are skeptical of the amount of costs the construction and development will take while building the new grounds and facilities. It is also said by John Fish, head of Suffolk Construction and chairman of Boston 2024 states hosting the Olympics would lead to better transportation and housing for the entire state of Massachusetts. He goes on to state that, "There's no question: These games are a catalyst for economic growth, job creation and prosperity".[33] Right now there is currently no further information about how the Olympics would affect the neighborhood of South Boston if Boston were to win the Olympic bid for the right to host the Olympics in the year 2024.

Public housing

South Boston is home to some of the oldest public housing in the United States.[34] In the last 30 years they have changed from having a mostly Irish American population to a more ethnically mixed population. The housing facilities are under the control of the Boston Housing Authority (BHA)[35] and include West Broadway which was built in 1949 and occupies 20 acres (81,000 m2),[36] West Ninth Street[37] (these three facilities are next to each other and commonly called D street), Old Colony which was built in 1941,[38] and Mary Ellen McCormack, which is the BHA's oldest development, being constructed in the 1930s. It was originally called Old Harbor Village.[39]

Other developments are Harbor Point (HP is in Dorchester), Foley[40] and Monsignor Powers.[41]

As of the June 26th, 2014 city officials and civilians officially celebrated the second phase of completion of the second face of construction and redevelopment of the Old Colony housing project that took place in the neighborhood of South Boston that began construction back in 2009. The phase two completion is huge milestone because this phase included important aspects such as: high-efficiency affordable housing in town-house style and four-story elevator buildings. Part of this project was funded by a HOPE VI grant which ensured $22-million dollars for the project. In order to have built these new public houses for the citizens of South Boston 223 original apartments alone Old Colony Ave up to Dorchester Street and over to Reverend Burke Street. These affordable housing units for the citizens of South Boston are some of the greenest and environmentally friendly public houses in the entire Commonwealth. In the future the Boston Housing Authority and its partners are looking to redevelop the remaining 453 original housing units in South Boston, as of right now there is no further information.[42]


South Boston is served by two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red Line rapid transit stations: Broadway and Andrew. In addition due to the development and revitalization of the South Boston Waterfront area, lead to the opening of a new station in South Boston. This new station was built and given the name of World Trade Center Station, this new location can be found on Congress St. in South Boston Waterfront. This is an affordable and safe way to travel throughout the Boston area. A ticket costs under $3 while an unlimited pass will cost $75.[43]

MBTA bus service connects these stations with the residential areas of South Boston, downtown Boston and the Back Bay. The MBTA Silver Line, a Bus rapid transit service running partly in a tunnel from South Station, also serves the north side of South Boston. South Boston is also served by five bus routes including the numbers 5, 7, 9, 10, 11. Similarly to the subway, the busing industry in South Boston also benefited from revitalization and development that took place under the late Mayor Menino during his time serving the city of Boston. The World Trade Center station also doubles as a bus station that connects this part of South Boston to other parts of the neighborhood. The bus tickets are under $2.50 while a monthly bus pass is $50. This bus station can be found on Congress St.[43]

Movies about South Boston

For 1996, Good Will Hunting showed the Working Class Irish side of parts of South Boston, concerned with whether the Character played by Matt Damon wished to get out, seeing he had a rare mathematical ability.

In 2006 a movie directed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg. This film has been nominated for many awards and has also won many awards. This film receives high praise from movie critics.[44]

2007 saw Gone, Baby, Gone, about the Kidnapping of a little girl from a depressed working class area of South Boston, and showing the gritty reality of a rough part of town where people did not seem to have much hope.

In 2015, Whitey Bulger was portrayed in another film. This film, Black Mass, is also inspired by the criminal activity that Whitey Bulger was part of during his time running the Irish mob in South Boston up until his capture. Similarly to The Departed many A-list actors signed on to this project as well, including Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch.[45]

Notable residents

South Boston has been the birthplace and home to a number of notable people, including:

See also



  1. ^ Topographical History of South Boston. 1970.
  2. ^ "History of the Memorial". South Boston Vietnam Memorial. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court HURLEY v. IRISH-AMERICAN GAY GROUP OF BOSTON, ___ U.S. ___ (1995)". FindLaw. 18 June 1995. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  4. ^ Walkowski, Paul; Connolly, William (April 1996). From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court Anatomy of a Free Speech Case: The Incredible Inside Story Behind the Theft of the St. Patrick's Parade. Branden Books.  
  5. ^ "The Greening of Southie". 
  6. ^ "South Boston Waterfront Public Realm Plan".  
  7. ^ Marantz, Steve (June 12, 1999). "Menino ends name battle with S. Boston Waterfront.". The Boston Herald. But the major stipulation is the "South Boston Waterfront" name, a priority of City Council President James M. Kelly, who objected to the Seaport District appellation used in printed documents of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. 
  8. ^ a b Vogel, Chris; and Patrick Doyle and Matthew Reed Baker (July 2012). "The Rise of the Seaport".  
  9. ^ Chesto, Jon (2012-04-17). "The South Boston waterfront gets a new website – and another new name". Mass. Market. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Boston Waterfront Guide
  11. ^ Acitelli, Tom. "On Southie Becoming South Boston". Curbed. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Various. "Seaport Square". Curbed. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Seaport makeover to begin next year". Boston Metro, 23 September 2010, p 3.
  14. ^ James M. Kelly, long-time city councilor and South Boston icon, dies. Boston Globe, January 9, 2007.
  15. ^ Ryan, Andrew. "South Boston skeptical of parking changes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Archdiocese of Boston Parishes, Schools and People". 
  17. ^ Cf. Sammarco (2006), p.25
  18. ^ History of the South Baptist Church, Boston, Boston : Alfred Mudge & Son, 1865.
  19. ^ South Boston Neighborhood House. SBNH Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "Boys and Girls Club of Boston". Boys and Girls Club. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Project Bread". Project Bread. Project Bread. 
  22. ^ "MassHousing". MassHousing. MassHousing. 
  23. ^ "Citizens Energy". Citizens Energy. Citizens Energy. 
  24. ^ "Useful Community Resources". South Boston Community Health Center. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  25. ^ """South Boston Neighborhood House "The Ollie. South Boston Neighborhood House "The Ollie". 
  26. ^
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Home - South Boston Community Health Center". 
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b "South Boston". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Article 89". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Arsenault and Levenson, Marl and Michael. "Olympic Games would transform industrial distict". Boston Globe. Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  34. ^ Boston Connects. South Boston
  35. ^ "Welcome to the Boston Housing Authority". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  36. ^ "West Broadway". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  37. ^ "West Ninth Street". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  38. ^ "Old Colony". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  39. ^ "Mary Ellen McCormack". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  40. ^ "Foley". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  41. ^ "Monsignor Powers". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  42. ^ "City and state officials celebrate completion of 129 new apartments at Old Colony". Boston Housing Authority. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  43. ^ a b "World Trade Center Station". MBTA. 
  44. ^ "The Departed". IMDB. 
  45. ^ "Black Mass". IMDB. 
  46. ^ Marquard, Bryan (2010-06-22). "John Ferruggio, at 84; hero of 1970 Pan Am hijacking".  


  • Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell; Rosenberg, Charlie, South Boston: Then & Now, Arcadia Publishing Company, 2006

Further reading

  • Charles Bancroft Gillespie (1900), Illustrated history of South Boston, South Boston, Mass: Inquirer Pub. Co. 
  • Malloy, Ione (1 October 1986). Southie Won't Go: A Teacher's Diary of the Desegregation of South Boston High School. University of Illinois Press.  
  • O'Connor, Thomas (24 February 1994). South Boston, My Home Town: The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood. Northeastern University Press.  
  • Anthony Mitchell Sammarco (1996), South Boston, Images of America, Dover, N.H.: Arcadia,  
  • Alcorn, Frank (7 October 2005). Southie Boy. Cork Hill Press.  
  • Weeks, Kevin; Karas, Phyllis (10 March 2006). Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob. William Morrow.  
  • MacDonald, Michael Patrick (4 October 2007). All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Beacon Press.  
  • Born before plastic: stories from Boston's most enduring neighborhoods; North End, Roxbury, and South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: City of Boston and Grub Street, Inc., 2007 

External links

  • South Boston Online
  • South Boston Tribune
  • South Boston Neighborhood at City of
  • Southie's St Patrick's Day Parade
  • South Boston on
  • Boston Public Library. Boston Pictorial Archive. Images of South Boston
  • South Boston Waterfront Photo Gallery
  • "South Boston". Boston TV News Digital Library.  
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