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St. Botolph Architectural Conservation District Commission hearing audiotapes

Identifier: 5217.001

Scope and Contents

Includes audiotapes of Commission hearings from 1988-1994.


  • 1988-1994


Historical note

The St. Botolph area was created in 1857, when public health concerns and a need to accommodate Boston’s growing population led to infill of Boston’s tidal lands. Development in St. Botolph began c.1881, when the first permits to build residential structures in the area were issued.

By the end of the 1880s, approximately half of the St. Botolph area had been developed. Of these structures, approximately 90% were designed as single-family residences. The remaining buildings were situated along the Massachusetts and Huntington Avenue edges of the neighborhood and consisted primarily of four-story, four-family apartment buildings and included such institutional and public buildings as the Elysium Club, the American Legion of Honor, and hotels. In 1891 a public elementary school was built in St. Botolph, the first yellow brick structure in an area previously dominated by red brick.

The remainder of St. Botolph was developed during the 1890s. The new decade brought a change in predominant building type; while the development that occurred during the 1880s had favored single-family homes, the 1890s were dominated by the construction four-story flats and other multi-family structures. In addition, the use of lighter colored materials became more prevalent, reflecting the decline in popularity of Victorian styles and the emergence of the more austere Classical Revival style. St. Botolph was historically home to a population of artists, writers, musicians, and craftspeople. Bela L. Pratt, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Philip Henry Savage are among the artists and writers that are known to have lived and worked there.

Despite its proximity to the Back Bay and South End, a combination of rapid development and the fact that multiple buildings were built by speculators lends St. Botolph an intimacy and visual cohesiveness not found in its larger neighbors. Elements of the Classical Revival, Georgian Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Queen Anne styles are found throughout the area.

The St. Botolph Architectural Conservation District was designated in 1981.


0.5 Cubic feet