South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, located south of the Fort Point Channel and abutting Dorchester Bay. It was formerly known as Dorchester Neck and today is referred to as Southie by its residents. South Boston is well known for being a working class Irish-Catholic neighborhood. Almost all of the parishes are Irish-Catholic, the majority of restaurants and pubs Irish themed, and several Irish-American Clubs are located there. The politicians who represent the area are all Irish-Catholic.


Geographically, Dorchester Neck was an isthmus, a narrow strip of land that connected the mainland of the colonial settlement of Dorchester, Massachusetts with Dorchester Heights. Landfill has since greatly increased the amount of land on the eastern side of the historical neck, and widened the connection to the mainland to the point that South Boston is no longer considered separate from it. South Boston gained an identity separate from Dorchester, but the two were annexed by Boston in pieces, from 1804 to 1870.:"See History of Boston, Massachusetts"It was here on Dorchester Heights, during the American Revolutionary War that George Washington placed his cannon and forced the evacuation of the British troops from Boston on March 17, 1776. The British evacuated Boston and Fort William and Mary for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fort William and Mary was replaced with a brick fortification known as Fort Independence. That fort was replaced by a granite fortification (bearing the same name) prior to the American Civil War, and still stands on Castle Island. Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Castle Island for five months in 1827 and was inspired to write “The Cask of Amontillado” based on an early Castle Island legend.

During the 1970s South Boston received national attention for its opposition to court mandated school (de facto) desegregation by busing students to different neighborhoods. In the 1990s, South Boston became the focus for a Supreme Court case on the right of gay and lesbian groups to participate in the Saint Patrick's Day (Evacuation Day) parade. The case was decided in favor of the parade's sponsors when the United States Supreme Court supported the South Boston Allied War Veterans' right to determine who can participate in their annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Local Dorchester author Paul Joseph Walkowski and Attorney William Connolly detailed the ordeals of the Veterans in their book "From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court."

"Southie" is home to the first, formal, national memorial for Vietnam Veterans. It predated the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. by 13 months. It was dedicated on September 13, 1981 and is located at Independence Square, which is more commonly called "M Street Park."

The City Point area of South Boston, labeled "East Side" by realtors, has seen a major increase in property values due to its close proximity to downtown Boston and gentrification. Poorer areas around Andrew Square and the Lower End, referred to as the "West Side" by real estate brokers, face a lot of the same problems found in many city neighborhoods including drug addiction and street crime.

South Boston is a neighborhood that actively involves children and young adults. Two common places for children and young adults to attend to after a long school day would be the Neighborhood House and the South Boston Boys & Girls Club.

The section of South Boston north of First Street is targeted for massive redevelopment by the administration of Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. [ Boston Redevelopment Authority] ] Initially referred to as the "Seaport District" by the BRA, this area was officially restyled the "South Boston Waterfront" after virulent protest from natives and local politicians, including City Council President James M. Kelly. The Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) Project, also known as the "Big Dig" has created a completely new transportation network for this area and quite a few new hotel and office projects have come online in the past few years. The recently opened Boston Convention and Exhibition Center straddles D Street and a new home for the Institute of Contemporary Art hangs over Boston Harbor just north of Northern Avenue.


South Boston is well known for being a predominately Irish-American neighborhood. However, South Boston has been home to immigrants from Albania, Poland, Italy, and Lithuania.



*Excel High School (9-12)
*Monument High School (9-12) Separate Division
*Odyssey High School (9-12) Separate Division
*James Condon Elementary School (K-5)
*Joseph P. Tynan School (K-5)
*Michael J. Perkins School (K-5)
*Oliver Hazard Perry School (K-8)
*Patrick F. Gavin Middle School (6-8)


*Gate Of Heaven Elementary School (K-8)
*St Brigid School (K-6}
*St Peter Academy (K-8)

Cultural and Language Schools

*Szkola Jezyka Polskiego w Bostonie (John Paul II Polish School for Children and Teens)

Source: [ [ South Boston Schools] ]

Public housing

South Boston is home to some of the oldest public housing projects in the United States. [ [ Boston Connects. South Boston] ] In the last 30 years they have changed from having a mostly white population to a more ethnically mixed population. These housing facilities are under the control of the Boston Housing Authority [ [ Boston Housing Authority] ] and include West Broadway, [ [ West Broadway housing] ] West Ninth Street [ [ West Ninth Street] ] (these two facilities are next to each other and commonly called the "D Street Projects"), Old Colony, [ [ Old Colony housing] ] and Mary Ellen McCormack [ [ Mary Ellen McCormack] ] (also known as the Old Harbor). The West Broadway Ninth Street Projects were knocked down in 2005 and are now a retirement housing building.

Other developments are the Foley [ [ Foley development info] ] and Monsignor Powers. [ [ Monsignor Powers] ] According to recent information from the Boston Herald (January 14, 2007), three out of the six most dangerous housing projects in Boston are in "Southie". West Broadway, Mary Ellen McCormack, and Old Colony ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth on the list with 88, 77, and 72 reported crimes last year.Fact|date=April 2007


South Boston is served by three Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red Line rapid transit stations: Broadway, Andrew and JFK/UMass (formerly Columbia).

MBTA bus service connects these stations with the residential areas of South Boston, downtown Boston and the Back Bay. The MBTA Silver Line, a bus rapid transit service running partly in a tunnel from South Station, also serves the north side of South Boston and City Point. South Boston is also served by five bus routes including the numbers 5, 7, 9, 10, 11.

Notable residents

*James "Whitey" Bulger, brother of William M. Bulger and alleged head of Boston's organized crime Winter Hill Gang. Is a federal fugitive on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted List [ [ FBI Most Wanted List, Bulger] ]
*William M. Bulger, former president of the Massachusetts Senate, former president of the University of Massachusetts
*James Brendan Bennet Connolly, athlete and author who, in 1896, became the first modern Olympic champion
*John Cunniff, professional hockey coach and athlete
*Richard Cushing, Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston
*Michael F. Flaherty, former President of the Boston City Council, current At Large City Councillor.
*Raymond Flynn, United States Ambassador to the Holy See and former Mayor of Boston
*David Lindsay-Abaire, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
*Stephen Lynch, Congressman, one of the lead investigators in the "Steroids in baseball" investigation
*Michael Patrick MacDonald, author
*John W. McCormack, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
*Will McDonough, sportswriter and television analyst
*John Joseph Moakley, Congressman, Chair of U.S. House Committee on Rules
*Patrick Nee, bestselling author and former associate of Whitey Bulger
*Brian Noonan, Stanley Cup Champion 1994, New York Rangers
*Kevin Weeks, Bulger's successor as the boss of the neighborhood's Irish Mob, Federal witness, and bestselling author
*Brian Goodman, Actor, Director, Screenplay writer

Pop culture references

South Boston is the home of the fictional Irish-American character "Will Hunting", a troubled young prodigy played by Matt Damon, who works as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in "Good Will Hunting", a 1997 film directed by Gus Van Sant.

"Mystic River" directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, and Sean Penn was partially filmed in South Boston. A local corner store, Miller's Market of 366 K Street, was used as one of the character's businesses.

The movie "The Boondock Saints" also takes place in South Boston, paying homage to the area's loyalty to Catholicism, St. Patrick's Day, and Irish heritage.

The movie "The Verdict" takes place in South Boston and was filmed there. The movie starred Paul Newman and was a legal thriller about an alcoholic lawyer who takes on the Catholic church in a case of medical malpractice involving a Catholic hospital, 2 doctors and a plaintiff left in a vegetative state.

The movie "Southie" is set in South Boston, about a mobster who returns home to South Boston and finds that things have not changed in the old neighborhood. It stars Donnie Wahlberg, a native of nearby Dorchester and former singer with New Kids on the Block.

Two recent films have been shot in South Boston: "The Departed" starring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, and "Gone Baby Gone" the directorial debut of Ben Affleck.

There have been many books written about the South Boston culture ranging from the political, in "The Boston Irish", the personal in "", the gang-related "Black Mass", and/or the historical, political, social, and personal in "That Old Gang of Mine".

The punk band Dropkick Murphys frequently reference South Boston's Irish heritage and sports loyalties in their songs — despite forming in nearby Quincy.

The Chicago improv comedy show Dirty Water takes place in a fictional bar by the same name in "Southie." The bar is loosely based on Kiley's Tavern [ [ index ] ] (formerly "Lally's Tavern") on Old Colony Avenue and D Street.

In the movie "Broadcast News", a young Aaron Altman (played by Dwayne Markee) states, "You're never gonna leave South Boston and I'm gonna see the whole damn world."

Further reading

*Alcorn, Frank, "Southie Boy", Carmel, Ind.: Cork Hill Press, c2005.
*Malloy, Ione, "Southie won't go : a teacher's diary of the desegregation of South Boston High School", Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1986
*MacDonald, Michael Patrick, "All Souls", London: Little, Brown, 2000, c1999.
*McMullin, Thomas A., [ "South Boston: My Home Town, The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood"] , Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Winter 2000. Review of Thomas O'Connor's book.
*O'Connor, Thomas H., "South Boston: My Home Town, The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood", Northeastern University Press, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115, 1994.


External links

* [ South Boston Online]
* [ South Boston Tribune]
* [ South Boston Information]
* [ South Boston Neighborhood]
* [ Saint Patrick's Day Parade]
* [ South Boston Vietnam Veterans Memorial]
* [ Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Group of Boston] (St. Patrick's Day Parade court case)
* [ Topographic Map of South Boston]
* [ Southie Parade]
* [ South Boston Little League]

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