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Before the North End was an urban neighborhood community, it was an island. Before Hanover Street was a commercialized concrete jungle, it was a neck. Characterized by the early colonial, John Winthrop, “the north part of the town separate from the rest by a narrow stream which was cut through a neck of land by industry.”

The accentuated yellow line delineates the original three streets of the North End: Hanover St, Salem St, North St.  Image of Map, Courtesy of City of Boston
The accentuated yellow line delineates the original three streets of the North End: Hanover St, Salem St, North St.
Image of Map, Courtesy of City of Boston

THE ISLAND OF BOSTON– Colonial Maps of the peninsula are, for the most part, impartial drawings-  paper trails that have been victimized by erosion, restoration, and interpretation. Buried beneath the energy of urban Italian-American antiquity exists the desire to delineate the topography of a neighborhood that began as an island.–

“The North End was but three streets wide in older times. These were North, Hanover, and Salem Streets. The former…was known along its course first as the Fore, or Front Street, and also as Anne, Fish and Ship Street. Hanover was Middle Street from the Mill Creek to Bennett Street, beyond which it was North Street. Salem was called Back Street as far back as Prince, and at one period Green Lane. All these retain their original names in part, except North, which has ever enjoyed a reputation not inferior to the Seven Dials of London or Five Points of New York.” (Landmarks of Boston, Samuel Adams Drake).

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4 COMMENTS

  1. As strange as it is to learn history from a video game, the recent game Assassin’s Creed 3 was set in colonial Boston, and the map was amazingly authentic. It was very interesting to see all these locations fully digitized and it helped get perspective on what the city was actually like back in the day.

  2. You sold me, BL. I’ve been putting off picking up AC-3 for one reason or another. I heard they did a hell of a job on Boston. I saw a few screen shots and was impressed. Off to GameStop.

  3. AND to think this is one of the kids in my classes favorite video games and we wont let him play it because of the violence and not EDUCATIONAL.. maybe theses some education in it? I hope he never comes up with it set in Boston.. we will be doing paul revere next month!

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