South End, Massachusetts Information
With its diverse community and vibrant history, the South End in Boston, Massachusetts is a popular choice among young professionals and artisans alike. Bordered by Chinatown, the Back Bay, and Fenway, and only 15 minutes by train to downtown, this neighborhood has easy access to all parts of the city.
South End, Massachusetts Details
Residential construction in the area began in the 1850s as city planners sought to develop a new neighborhood to help alleviate congestion downtown. In order to house as many people as possible, uniform blocks of brick townhouses were built. These townhouses later became historically important and the symbol of the area. While the district began as a middle-class, predominantly white neighborhood, it soon began attracting immigrants from Ireland, Lebanon, Israel, and Greece. Adding to the diversity, the area was also once home to the offices of the American Federation of Musicians. Considering that, it’s easy to understand how it became a jazz mecca in the 1950s, attracting musicians from all over to play at some of the country’s most famous jazz clubs.
After falling into disrepair in the 1960s due to absentee landlordism, the neighborhood underwent a period of urban renewal, followed by gentrification. With its proximity to railroad lines and the port, the area began attracting commercial and industrial development and remains a mixed-use area today.
In present day, the South End possesses a decidedly chic yet down-to-earth quality. The claim to fame of this Massachusetts district is that it is home to the largest Victorian rowhouse district in the country, and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Most of the buildings are brick with stone trim, and while they vary slightly stylistically, the area maintains overall visual continuity. Additionally, many of its homes overlook one of the area’s numerous quaint parks.
The most notable landmark aside from the lovely Victorian rowhouses is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Built in 1806, it is the largest Roman Catholic church in the state. History aficionados will also enjoy a visit to the William Porter House; built in 1806, it is the oldest building in the neighborhood. An additional interesting fact to note is that Martin Luther King once called 397 Massachusetts Avenue his home while he was a theology student.
While the area has gentrified some, it still remains one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods with a large LGBT population and residents of varying cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Perhaps due to this diversity, there is a huge variety of restaurants offering all types of ethnic food, along with those that peddle typical American fare. If you like seafood, be sure to check out B&G Oysters, and anyone with a sweet tooth can’t miss Blackbird Donuts, featuring one of a kind flavors like sesame sriracha and blackberry lavender.
Because the area is mixed-use, that means that homes are conveniently located amongst libraries, bars and clubs, theatres, major hospitals, art galleries, and a variety of community organizations. For nightlife, don’t miss Wally’s Café- the only remaining club from the jazz boom of the 1950s- or The Delux, a dive-bar institution. Feeling artsy? The South End was ranked the second-best art district in the country by USA Today in 2015. An event unique to the area is SoWa First Fridays, where on the first Friday of each month, Thayer Street is open to pedestrians only, encouraging mingling throughout the many art galleries that line the street.
The area has also become a destination for boutique shops specializing in trendy, artisanal goods. Sooki stocks stylish apparel and gifts sourced from all over the world, and Boston General Store Purveyors is filled with cute home goods you never knew you needed. The area is also home to numerous artisanal food shops, and even stores that sell designer doggy goods.
The South End maintains a young, educated population. Nearly 50 percent of residents are under the age of 34, and 55 percent hold a college degree. The median household income is $53,000 and the median home value is $825,000, with home values increasing 6.5 percent over the last year. The median rental price is $2,900, slightly higher than the overall average in Boston, Massachusetts which is $2,700. While home prices have steadily increased since 2008, this neighborhood is still a more affordable alternative than other popular neighborhoods like the Back Bay.
If you seek a diverse and affordable yet trendy neighborhood, look no further than SoWa. With its colorful history, central location, beautiful architecture, and a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife, this neighborhood offers the best of Boston at a reasonable price.
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