Built on a landfill created from tidal flats in the early 1800s to provide additional housing for Boston’s expanding middle class population, Chinatown is home to Boston’s largest Chinese community, in a unique mix of residences and family owned and operated businesses.
As the area’s original residents moved out of the area in the 1840s, an influx of immigrants moved in, including Chinese, Irish, Italian, Jewish and Syrian, who converted the area’s single family homes to multiple unit tenements.
Commercial uses, including textiles and leather works, began at the turn of the century with the construction of South Station and the Washington Street Trolley line. To this day, Chinese restaurants and specialty shops fill the ground floor levels of residential buildings.
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Updated: November 2017