Beacon Hill, Boston, Massaachusetts

Beacon Hill, Boston, Massaachusetts

Living in Boston's Beacon Hill

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Boston, Massachusetts, neighborhood of Beacon Hill has been a coveted one since cow pasture lands originally belonging to the state’s first governor John Hancock were used to build the Massachusetts State House, completed in 1798.

The statehouse was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, whose vision influenced much of Boston and beyond. Bulfinch was among a group of wealthy Bostonians who formed an association called Mount Vernon Proprietors. The group would help to transform Beacon Hill into a residential development of the elite, by the most well-known architects of the day.

Today, this historic downtown area is elegant, cosmopolitan, livable and, above all, sought-after, a fact that hasn’t changed in centuries.

Just under 10,000 live here in an area not much more than a half a square mile. Beacon Hill is situated north of Boston Public Garden and Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. The Charles River is just a short walk away.

In addition to the gold-domed state capital, Beacon Hill’s landmarks and attractions include the Boston African American National Historic Site and what some say is one of the most photographed blocks in the country, Acorn Street, a pretty alleyway of cobblestones and gas lampposts.

Beacon Hill consists of three areas, South Slope, North Slope and the Flat of the Hill. South Slope came into its own in the first half of the 19th century with opulent row houses in the Federal and Greek Revival style. Within the already prestigious section, Louisburg Square is its most exclusive address. North Slope was known as one of the fiercest strongholds of the abolitionist movement in the antebellum era and an important stop on the Underground Railroad. The Flat of the Hill, last to be developed, is the neighborhood’s main commercial street of antique shops, boutiques and restaurants.

The character-filled row houses, semi-detached homes and freestanding mansions of Beacon Hill made up the state’s first historic district. It was later a designated as a national landmark.