Long a remote peninsula, Boston annexed South Boston in 1804. In 1805, the city constructed a bridge linking South Boston to the rest of the city. Planners organized the community with a regular grid of numbered and lettered streets, a pattern atypical of the rest of the city.
South Boston grew rapidly with the completion of the Old Colony Railroad, and grew even more significantly in the years leading up to the Civil War as the hub of industry,
including iron foundries, machine shops, shipyards and refineries, all of which fueled the war effort.
South Boston’s rapid industrial growth sparked an increase in population, many of them Irish immigrants looking for work in America and fleeing the famine in Ireland. In the 20thcentury, shipyard and railroad jobs continued to provide work for South Boston residents.
Today South Boston’s commercial district is built around East and West Broadway. South Boston, also known as “Southie,” boasts miles of beaches and waterfront parks, including Carson, L Street and Pleasure Bay beaches. Toward the end of the 19th century, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted created “the Strandway,” which runs from Castle Island to Columbus Park.
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Updated: December 2017