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Look Up, Boston! A Walking Tour of Back Bay, south of Commonwealth Avenue


a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com


by Doug Gelbert


published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords


Copyright 2013 by Cruden Bay Books


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.



In 1857 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began to fill in the tidal flats west of the city center. The fill began at the Public Garden and spread westward, eventually taking 25 years to complete the project. From the beginning, Back Bay was designed to be a residential community; over the next 60 years more than 1,500 houses and apartments were built here.


Back Bay represented one of the country’s first concerted efforts to create a homogeneous urban environment on a grand scale. The wide streets and large building lots attracted wealthy Bostonians from Beacon Hill from the beginning. America’s top architects from the Gilded Age are represented throughout the neighborhood. World War I and the Depression led to the dissolution of many of these magnificent single-family mansions and the infiltration of retail establishments.

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