Boston's North End History

Paul Revere House
Copps Hill
Christopher Colombus Park

St. Stephens Church

The North End is the oldest neighborhood district in the city of Boston, for over 300 years it has existed. The area known as the North End was first settled in the early 1600's by English Puritans. The North End soon became the threshold for many different immigrant faces in the 1800's. The Irish were the first immigrant residents, then came the German, Russian, and Polish Jews, followed by a few Portuguese, and finally a wave of Italian immigration in the 1880's. The Italians have dominated the area since the time of their immigration and have made the North End the forefront of their community in the city of Boston as we know it today.

The North End has a rich history in new beginnings. It is considered the birthplace to the American Revolution; the first movements and planning against England were organized along the Boston harbor in the homes and Taverns in Faneuil Hall. The area was also referred to as "the cradle of liberty", by Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and many other famous patriots. These brave revolutionaries used to meet at the Brattle Street Tavern, and the Green Dragon Tavern on Union Street. It has been said that the patriots who participated in the Boston Tea Party dressed up as Indians and were seen departing the rear door of the Green Dragon Tavern on their way to dump tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of England's latest taxation of the New World colonists.

Other famous circumstances of American independence took place in the North End. Signal lanterns hung from the Old North Church tower on Salem Street prompted Paul Revere's rebellious midnight ride. The Old North Church was constructed in 1723 the oldest church building in Boston proper. The tragic incident known as the "Boston Massacre" occurred only a block away from Faneuil Hall, opposite the old state house on State Street. Also the British seizure and control of Boston before the final countdown to the revolution started with troops being stationed in the North End. The neighborhood of the North End played an integral role in the establishment and independence of our country.

The North End has also been an area at the center stage of commerce for early America. In the 17th century it was home to Boston's first food markets and mills which converted food to storable grains and wood for construction of homes and ships. The 18th century brought bustling trade for merchants in ship building in turn these ships brought merchants importation of worldly goods such as sugar, fruits, coffee, tea, wool, etc. essential items for everyday existence. The artisans of the time were expanding their skills in gold and silver-smithing, copper production, and iron and steel bell casting. Growing business in the 19th century brought the need for an expansion of the North End waterfront. Thus the creation of massive landfill projects that took the waterfront from Faneuil Hall, creating Quincy Market, to the waterfront boundaries of the wharves as seen today. This created an increase in trade and a larger shipping center making Boston a major seaport in America.