Boston's Back Bay and Popular Attractions
Perhaps the most common misconception regarding Boston is it’s a haphazard hodgepodge of streets, buildings, and activities. However, the city is organized (albeit unconventionally), and every area has definitive characteristics and amenities to suit the tastes and desires of every individual. At Group Boston Real Estate, we have made it our personal mission to find a property conforming to your criteria in a neighborhood tailored to your needs. This brings us to a new blog segment, “Neighborhood Spotlight.” For your consideration this week, a neighborhood near and dear to our hearts: The Back Bay.
Ironically, the Back Bay had once been a stagnant slough, utilized as the city’s dumpsite in the early 19th century. In fact, it had been labeled a "nuisance, offensive and injurious to the large and increasing population residing upon it." Simultaneously, the ever-increasing populace, enticed by the immense success of Boston’s shipping and manufacturing industries, soon overwhelmed the small landmass. Developers saw a great opportunity. Employing newly developed steam engine technology, the Commonwealth spent 25 years hauling land from Needham to the Back Bay, filling from the Public Garden to Kenmore Square.
The Back Bay is one of the few areas of Boston where any sort of methodical planning is visible. Planners took inspiration from Haussmann’s renovation of Paris, which consists of the wide, parallel, tree-lined streets the area is renowned for today. Additionally, setback requirements and other deed restrictions led to the construction of the stately and congruous brownstones now considered the best-preserved examples of 19th century urban architecture. These buildings (now largely commercialized) serve as much of Boston’s premier real estate. And the Back Bay is well connected in more ways than one, as it is extraordinarily walk-able and served extensively by the MBTA.
Nowadays, the neighborhood’s prestige is derived from the striking grandeur and variety of architectural styles that house a profusion of preeminent cultural, educational, and commercial establishments. Notable styles include: Romanesque Revival (Trinity Church), Gothic Revival (New Old South Church), Beaux Arts Classicism (Boston Public Library), Art Deco (Shreve, Crump and Low Building), and Mid-century Modernism (John Hancock and Prudential Tower) among others. The area can be fully encapsulated by its three most prominent streets: Newbury, Boylston, and Commonwealth Avenue. These streets serve as the basis for the area’s thriving commercial center. The synthesis of skyscrapers and boutiques, luxury hotels and art galleries, vast amounts of vegetation and rows of quiet residences make the Back Bay one of the most desired and fascinating neighborhoods in all of Boston.