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Located just minutes from downtown and the Back Bay, in recent years the South End has become one of Boston's most popular neighborhoods. It has attracted a diverse blend of young professionals, families and a vibrant gay and lesbian population to this Boston Landmark District. You will be sure to notice the South End's renowned Victorian brownstone buildings and homes as you walk along Tremont Street, Columbus Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. Small business owners also enjoy the amenities of the South End and are supported by the national award winning Washington Gateway Main Streets Program. Some of Boston's finest restaurants, a thriving arts community and nearly 30 parks also call the South End home.
The South End lies south of the Back Bay, northwest of South Boston, northeast of Roxbury, north of Dorchester, and southwest of Bay Village. Despite the name, it is not directly south of the center of downtown Boston.
The neighborhood is built upon a former tidal marsh, a part of a larger project of the filling of Boston's Back Bay (north and west of Washington Street) and South Bay (south and east of Washington Street), from the 1830s to the 1870s. Fill was brought in by trains from large trenches of gravel excavated in Needham, Massachusetts. The South End was filled and developed first, before the Back Bay which was mostly built after the American Civil War. Nineteenth century technology did not allow for driving steel piles into bedrock and instead a system of submerged timbers provided an understructure for most South End buildings. Recent decreases in underground water levels has caused damage to some wood pilings by exposing them to air. A series of monitoring wells have been drilled and the water level is now checked, and can be adjusted by the introduction of water.
The South End was once bordered to the north and west by the Boston and Providence Railroad, which terminated at the B&P RR Station bordering the Public Garden. The railroad line is now covered by the Southwest Corridor Park and terminates at Back Bay Station. Most of the cross streets in the neighborhood are named after cities and towns served by it or by the Boston and Albany Railroad: Greenwich, Newton, Canton, Dedham, Brookline, Rutland, Concord, Worcester, Springfield, Camden, Maine, Northampton, Sharon, Randolph, Plympton, Stoughton, Waltham, Dover, Chatham, and Wareham.
The primary business thoroughfares of the South End are Tremont and Washington Streets, from West Newton Street to Berkeley Street. Washington Street, the original causeway that connected Roxbury to Boston, experienced considerable reinvestment in the 1990s. The street was once defined by the Washington Street Elevated, an elevated train that was moved to below Southwest Corridor Park in the 1980s. Today Washington is the route of the Silver Line, Boston's first bus rapid transit line. Columbus Avenue, the third main street of the South End, also has numerous restaurants and provides a remarkable straight-line view to the steeple of Park Street Church. Today the modern MBTA Orange Line rapid transit train runs along the partially covered Southwest Corridor, with neighborhood stops at Back Bay (also an MBTA Commuter Rail stop due to its proximity to the Copley Square employment center) and Massachusetts Avenue.
South End Zip Codes: 02134
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