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South Boston
South Boston from the air
South Boston from the air
Southie, God’s Country
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Suffolk
Neighborhood of Boston
Annexed by Boston 1804
 • Land 3.1 sq mi (8 km2)
 • Density 10,867/sq mi (4,196/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
Zip Code
Area code(s) 617 / 857

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, colloquially known as Southie, has undergone several demographic transformations since being annexed to the city of Boston in 1804. The neighborhood, once primarily farmland, is popularly known by its twentieth century identity as a working class Irish Catholic community. Throughout the twenty-first century, the neighborhood has become increasingly popular with millennial professionals.

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.

The headquarters of Reebok is in South Boston.


Dorchester neck can be seen on this early map of Boston in the lower right.
Situationsplan von Boston (Massachusetts)
South Boston in 1888 ("Süd Boston" on this German map.)

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. 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.


South Boston became known as an Irish working-class neighborhood when large numbers of Irish immigrants settled there in the mid-nineteenth century and continued to do so throughout the twentieth. 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 census estimates South Boston's total population at 33,688. The Caucasian population is about 26,700 (79.2%). A total amount of 2,789 (8.3%) Hispanic people is counted. African American population is about 1,926 (5.7%). The Asian population makes up 4.8% (1,603). 466 people are of non-Hispanic mixed race (1.4%) and 190 people (0.6%) are identified as Others (i.e. American Indians and groups not otherwise categorized).

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.

Places of worship

Southie Mural
Mural in South Boston saying "Welcome to South Boston" in English and "Fáilte go mBoston dheas" in Irish. Also shown is a Celtic cross, the coats of arms of the Provinces of Ireland and the words "Sinn Féin" "Irish Republican Army" and "NORAID." This Mural has been torn down along with the building to make way for resident housing.

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


  • St Matthew and the Redeemer (former)


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


  • Fourth Presbyterian Church

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

Community resources

The public housing is run through MassHousing, which offers plans for people to rent or buy affordable property. There is also Fuel assistance and Legal assistance to anyone who needs it in South Boston.

Community resources and organizations List

  • South Boston Neighborhood House
  • South Boston Boys and Girls Club (Part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston)
  • Labouré Center
  • South Boston Branch Library
  • South Boston Community Health Center
  • South Boston Action Center
  • Paraclete Center
  • Tynan Community Center
  • PAL Gym
  • South Boston Irish American Society
  • Curley Community Center


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.


Carson Beach
Carson Beach at sunrise
David Farragut Statue
Marine Park at City Point

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

The Lawn on D

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.


South Boston is served by two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red Line rapid transit stations: Broadway and Andrew. MBTA bus service links these stations to nearby residential areas via bus routes 5, 7, 9, 10, 11.

The MBTA Silver Line, a Bus rapid transit service, connects the South Boston Waterfront with South Station via a bus tunnel beneath Congress St. and Boston Logan International Airport in neighboring East Boston via the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Ted Williams Tunnel.

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:

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