South End Boston MA Neighborhood
The South End is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts that is bordered by Back Bay, Chinatown, and Roxbury. It is distinguished from other neighborhoods by its Victorian style houses and the many parks in and around the area. The South End is the largest intact Victorian row house district in the country, which is made up of over 300 acres. Eleven residential parks are scattered around the South End.
The South End has five primary and secondary schools that offer education from kindergarten to grade 12. It has a diverse selection of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and boutiques, as well as banks and ATMs. It is conveniently located within the radius of three libraries which offer many different programs for children and adults.
The South End is built mostly of mid-nineteenth century bowfronts—aesthetically uniform rows of five-story, predominantly red-brick structures, of mixed residential and commercial uses. The most common styles are Renaissance Revival, Italianate and French Second Empire, though there are Greek Revival, Egyptian Revival, Gothic Revival, and Queen Anne style houses, among several other styles. Row houses built in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, especially along the present Southwest Corridor Park show the influence of Charles Eastlake in the incised decoration on stone trim. Despite the style, a common palette of red brick, slate, limestone or granite trim, and cast iron railings provide great visual unity.
Today, the South End is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Boston Landmark District. It is North America’s largest extant Victorian residential district. A citizens’ group, The South End Historical Society, works with the Boston Landmarks Commission, on matters of historic preservation.
While no Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) trains run directly through the South End, the neighborhood is close to subway stops, including the Green line’s Copley and Prudential which are two stops that are walking distance from the South End., the Silver line’s Washington Street stop, and the Orange Line’s Massachusetts Avenue and Back Bay station. Bus service is more widespread, with MBTA bus line 43 stopping at Tremont Street.
The South End has a growing retail presence, much of it aimed primarily at upper-middle class shoppers. New retail shops offer a range of handmade gifts by local artists, home furnishings, men’s and women’s clothing, stationery, specialty foods, spa services, and a rapidly growing number of manicure and pedicure shops. Several new stores cater to wealthy dog owners. The South End has Uniform, a shop for trendy men, which sells sweaters, wallets, etc. from brands like Ben Sherman, and Fred Perry. Pioneer Goods Co. is a home goods store specializing in rustic Americana decor and furniture. Another boutique in the South End is Sooki for a “one-of-a-kind women’s clothing, handcrafted jewelry, trendy shoes, and irresistible accessories from around the globe.” With the South End becoming increasingly popular with the artsy population it is no wonder there are many art galleries that are located here. One of them being Boston Center for the Arts which “supports three resident theater companies and houses an art gallery and studio space for local artists.” The Boston Center for the Arts holds a building called Cyclorama, “a massive brick rotunda built in 1884 and topped by a copper skylight dome, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places.”