A drive through Roxbury is both a history lesson and a tour of a modern urban neighborhood. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, Roxbury has long thrived thanks to its proximity to downtown, while also retaining its unique character and neighborhood qualities. Home to a great number of parks, schools and churches, a visitor can see Boston’s history in the architecture and landmarks of the neighborhood.
From the beginning, farming was the basis of Roxbury’s economy, but changes in the early 19th century, prompted by developments in transportation brought industrial development along with denser residential development. Roxbury became a manufacturing center, which generated jobs not only for local residents but also for residents of other parts of the city. Roxbury’s rapid growth demanded more municipal services; Boston subsequently annexed the neighborhood in 1868.
Dudley Square has long been Roxbury’s commercial hub, dating back to 1901 when the Elevated Railway established Dudley Square as it southernmost stop. Today the rail line is part of the MBTA system and is known as the Orange Line. Roxbury is experiencing a significant revitalization, evidenced by the 2001 opening of the Grove Hall Mall, making the Grove Hall section of Roxbury another commercial center of the neighborhood.
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Updated: December 2017