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 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).