Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

South Boston

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Country  United States
County  Suffolk
Annexed by Boston  1804
Zip code  02127
Area code  Area code 617
State  Massachusetts
Neighborhood of  Boston
Time zone  Eastern (UTC-5)
Population  35,200 (2010)

Restaurants  Lincoln Tavern, Capo Restaurant, Worden Hall, Local 149, Stephi's in Southie, Renaissa Boston Waterfron
Hotels  The Westin Boston Waterfront, Renaissa Boston Waterfron, Seaport Hotel & World Tra, Aloft Boston Seaport, Element Boston Seaport

America s best dive bar south boston

South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, located south and east of the Fort Point Channel and abutting Dorchester Bay. South Boston, most popularly known as Southie, was once a predominantly working class Irish Catholic community, but has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families.


Map of South Boston, Boston, MA, USA

South Boston contains Dorchester Heights, where George Washington forced British troops to evacuate during the American Revolutionary War. South Boston has undergone gentrification, and consequently, its real estate market has seen property values join the highest in the city. South Boston has also left its mark on history with Boston busing desegregation. South Boston is also home to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, a celebration of the Irish-American culture and the Evacuation Day observance.

South boston neigborhood walking tour


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 to 1870.

During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington placed a cannon on Dorchester Heights, thereby forcing the evacuation of British troops from Boston on March 17, 1776. The British evacuated Boston and 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.

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. 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.

Harrison Loring House

The Harrison house is a mansion located in Southie. It was used as a private residence until 1913. At that time it was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church to use the space as a convent. Since 1987, its current owner has converted it into apartment style housing. The house located at 789 East Broadway is full of rich history. It is associated with Harrison Loring, who owned and operated one of the first South Boston shipyards.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

The history behind the South Boston, Saint Patrick's Day Parade is General John Henry Knox brought 55 cannons captured at Fort Ticonderoga. In March, the troops positioned the cannons on Dorchester Heights. They had cut down trees to cannon size, hollowed them out and blackened them over fire to look like cannons. Surprise was just around the corner. On March 17, 1776, orders were given that if you wished to pass through the continental lines, the password was "St. Patrick". The British had seen all the cannons on the Heights and left Boston.

Evacuation Day was declared a holiday in the City of Boston in 1901. In celebration, the city hosted a parade based in South Boston. A monument to the historical event was completed in Dorchester Heights in 1902. Major George F. H. Murray served as Chief Marshall for the parade in 1901. The state of Massachusetts recognized Evacuation Day as a holiday in Suffolk County (but not the rest of the state) in 1938. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is both a celebration of the Irish-American culture in Boston and the Evacuation Day victory. The City of Boston sponsored the event until 1947, when Mayor James Michael Curley gave authority to the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.

Politicians and local celebrities have participated in these annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for years. In 1958 Senator John F. Kennedy rode with Jacqueline Kennedy in the parade. The Kennedy family were well known as participating in this parade. Robert F. Kennedy marched in 1968, Ted and Joan Kennedy also marched in 1970. The N.A.A.C.P entered a float in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1964. In the mid-1960s the Harvard’s Irish Society joined the march. Irish nationalists unofficially marched in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, Irish Republican Aid Committee members protested violence in Northern Ireland by carrying a coffin draped with the Irish tricolored flag. The Boston chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Commission marched with black armbands and a sign reading "England Get out of Ireland"

The year 1976 marked the 200th anniversary of Evacuation Day and the 75th anniversary of the parade. A reenactment of the 1776 evacuation was incorporated into the parade, with fireworks and period costumes. President George H.W. Bush declared March Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991. The application of the Irish American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, or GLIB, to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992, the first of its kind in the history of the parade, was met with a rejection by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. In recent years, parade organizers have tried to make the event more kid-friendly, by incorporating "family zones" or sober places to watch the parade. The South Boston, St. Patrick’s Parade is listed as the second-largest parade in the country, being viewed by nearly 600,000 to 1 million people every year, in addition to having the entire parade seen on live television.

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. 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".


South Boston was traditionally an Irish working-class neighborhood ever since the Irish migrated to Boston due to the Great Famine that occurred in Ireland. Once a predominantly Irish Catholic community, in recent years South Boston has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families who are attracted to the neighborhood's strong sense of community and quick access to downtown and public transportation. South Boston has a population of about 33,311. The median age is about 32.

The most recent calculations calculate the total population is estimated to be around 33,311. The Caucasian population is about 26,866 (80.7%). African American population is about 8%. American Indian and Alaska Native is about 0.2%. The Asian population is 4.7%. Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander are about 15%, and the other category at 4.3%. Those who are multiracial at 2.1%. (Editor's Note: the total is > 100%. I suspect the figure for Native Hawaiian and Other P.I. is wrong.)


South Boston has increasingly become an upscale residential area. Poverty levels within South Boston: 1,646 of households have received Food Stamp/SNAP in the past 12 months. 1,064 of individuals income in the past 12 months has been below poverty level, while 582 has been above poverty level. 12,940 households did not receive Food Stamps/SNAP within the past 12 months. From these individuals not receiving help 1,367 fall below poverty level in the past 12 months, while 11,753 individuals income in the past 12 months is above or at poverty level. When looking at it as poverty status by household, Family households: poverty estimate 1,134 (46.6%). Non-family households: poverty estimated 1,297 (53.4%). Male households: poverty estimated 447 (18.4%). Female households: poverty estimated 850 (35.0%) In addition when putting it as Poverty Status by Family Married-couple family: With related children under 18: 138 (12.2%) out of 1,266. Under 5 years ONLY: 47 out of 507. Under 5 years and 5–17 years: 25 out of 169. 5–17 years ONLY: 66 out of 590. Not related children under 18 years: 41 (3.6%) out of 2,100. Other family:Male households, no wife present: 67 (5.9%) out of 443 Female households, no husband present: 888 (78.3%) out of 1,976.

Waterfront redevelopment

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). 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. However, it is still also referred to as the Seaport District as of 2012. 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. 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. The South Boston Waterfront, in a massive renaissance, has exploded in recent years; considered "the hottest, fastest-growing real estate market in the country", 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. 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.

The Fallon Company is currently developing Boston’s Fan Pier, one of the most sought-after waterfront sites in the United States, and a catalyst for the revitalization of South Boston’s waterfront. Fan Pier is a nine-acre, 21 city block site which consisted largely of underutilized parking lots when the Fallon Company purchased it for $115 million in 2005. Today, it is a neighborhood consisting of four commercial towers – One Marina Park Drive, 11 Fan Pier Boulevard, 50 Northern Avenue, and 100 Northern Avenue – and a luxury condominium tower Twenty Two Liberty. A second residential building, Fifty Liberty, is currently under construction. Two more high-rise towers are planned. When complete in 2020, the $4 billion Fan Pier project will encompass three million square feet of commercial and residential real estate, public, civic and cultural space, including two parks and a 6-acre marina.

The Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) Project, also known as the "Big Dig", has created a completely new transportation network for this area. 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.

On January 13, 2016, it was announced that GE will be moving its corporate headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to the South Boston Waterfront. Some of the workers will arrive in the summer of 2016 and the full move will be completed by 2018. GE ranks eighth on the Fortune 500 and will become the largest publicly traded company based in Massachusetts.


Public schools are operated by Boston Public Schools.


  • Excel High School
  • UP Academy Boston
  • South Boston High School
  • Private

  • South Boston Catholic Academy
  • Places of worship

    Catholic Churches

  • Gate of Heaven Parish
  • The Gate of Heaven Parish was established in 1863.

  • ST. Brigid Parish
  • The St. Brigid Parish was established in 1908.

  • Our Lady of Czestochowa (Polish)
  • Saint Monica – Saint Augustine (currently merged)
  • Saint Peter (Lithuanian)
  • Saint Vincent de Paul
  • 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 Archbishop Nikon, Archbishop 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
  • Episcopal

  • St Matthew and the Redeemer (former)
  • Baptist

  • South Baptist Church, at 80 L Street
  • Hub Church
  • Presbyterian

  • Fourth Presbyterian Church
  • Fourth Church has been a part of South Boston since 1870. Situated between two housing projects.


    The South Boston parking freeze allows a maximum of 30,389 off-street parking spaces in South Boston. Established in 1993 under rules of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (310 CMR 7.33) as one of the air quality mitigation measures associated with the Central Artery/Tunnel project, the South Boston parking freeze limits the availability parking spaces in South Boston. These regulations divide South Boston into three zones: the Piers Zone; the Industrial/Commercial Zone; and the Residential Zone. Due to less parking spaces, the APCC began issuing permits under the freeze in 2004. The people of South Boston were unsure of this policy due to the fact that South Boston already had limited parking to begin with. This policy helps with air pollution and promotes carpooling and public transportation but limits the parking spaces for people who live in the area.

    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."

    Thomas Park

    Atop the Dorchester Heights hill sits a tall monument commemorating the Patriot battery that drove the British out of 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 first 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 United States.

    South Boston Maritime Park

    Located at D Street and Northern Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, the park is a rectangle of green lawn, gardens, trees, benches, and paved walkways. Artwork along the paths displays fish and sea motifs, paying tribute to the city’s maritime background. The roofed seating area provides partial shade and tables and chairs, an ideal spot for lunch. A seasonal café on the premises and will soon be home to Larry J's BBQ Cafe..

    Joe Moakley Park

    This urban park features baseball and soccer fields, a spray area and a jogging track at 600 William J. Day Blvd., South Boston. Right by local transportation families have easy access in traveling to enjoy their day.

    Castle Island Park

    Site of Fort Independence (open in the summer) with beach, picnic and jogging area. 2010 William J Day Blvd

    Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park

    Bay views, open lawn, athletic fields and a playground are features of this waterside park. Located on Farragut Road.

    Peters Park

    This kid friendly park had a play area just for children. With a garden and an off leash dog rush, plus courts for tennis and basketball. 230 Shawmut Ave

    Marine Industrial Park

    This 191-acre waterfront area features businesses plus a brewery, a museum and a cruise terminal.

    Urban policy

    Olympic Bidding of 2024

    South Boston had been nominated to be selected to be the host city for the Summer Olympic Games in the year 2024 by the United States Olympic Committee, before Boston renounced its initial selection by the USOC. Supporters of the Boston 2024 Olympics had been hopeful the 70,000 new temporary jobs will bring in money to the community, while people opposing the Boston 2024 campaign were skeptical of the amount of costs the construction and development will take while building the new grounds and facilities. It was also said by John Fish, head of Suffolk Construction and chairman of Boston 2024, that hosting the Olympics would lead to better transportation and housing for the entire state of Massachusetts.

    Public housing

    South Boston is home to some of the oldest public housing in the United States. 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) and include West Broadway which was built in 1949 and occupies 20 acres (81,000 m2), West Ninth Street (these three facilities are next to each other and commonly called D street), Old Colony which was built in 1941, and Mary Ellen McCormack, which is the BHA's oldest development, being constructed in 1936. It was originally called Old Harbor Village.

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

    As of the June 26, 2014 city officials and civilians officially celebrated the completion of the second phase 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 to build these new public houses for the citizens of South Boston 223 original apartments along Old Colony Ave up to Dorchester Street and over to Reverend Burke Street. These affordable housing units are some of the greenest and most 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.


    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.

    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.

    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 Martin Scorsese and produced by Brad Pitt called The Departed was inspired by the events that took place in Boston during Whitey Bulger's reign as the kingpin of the Irish mafia. The 2006 film adaptation loosely based on the life of Whitey Bulger was headlined by such A-list actors as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg. The films was subsequently nominated for numerous prestigious awards, going on to win many of them, including the Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Film Editing, as well as Best Picture.

    In 2015 the film, Black Mass, was 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.

    Fun facts

    The Southie neighborhood is full of history and character. As of July 5, 2004, every workplace, restaurant, and bar in Massachusetts are 100% smoke free. This policy was created to reduce air pollution as well as put an end to second hand smoking.

    South Boston Iron Works was here in the 19th century and was the largest iron foundry in the country. They made cannons that were used in the Civil War. In 1981, the first Vietnam War monument in the United States was built. It is located at the Medal of Honor Park on East Broadway.

    Notable people

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


    South Boston Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    South Boston, Indiana
    South Boston Boat Clubs Historic District
    James (2005 film)