South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood, located south and east of the Fort Point Channel abutting Dorchester Bay. South Boston, most popularly known as Southie, was once a predominantly Irish Catholic community, with residents finding work on the South Boston waterfront or in factories such as Gillette, which still employs many locals. Parts of the neighborhood were heavily industrial, with businesses including ironworks and glassworks.
South Boston is home to Dorchester Heights where George Washington’s army set up 55 cannons to force the British out of Boston on March 17, 1776, also known as Evacuation Day. The cannons were dragged from Fort Ticonderoga near the south end of Lake Champlain by Henry Knox. When the British evacuated Fort William and Mary, it was replaced by a brick fortification known as Fort Independence. That fort was replaced by a granite fortification prior to the American Civil War, and still stands on Castle Island as a National Historic Landmark.
Walking the streets of Southie, in addition to the various historical sites, you will also be treated to some traditional Irish-American pubs. Some of these include: Boston Beer Garden and L Street Tavern which was featured in the film Good Will Hunting. Southie also was also featured prominently in the films The Black List, Gone Baby Gone and The Departed.
Southie has had some famous residents such as Ray Flynn, who served as Mayor of Boston from 1984 to 1993 and went on to be the Ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997. America’s first ever Catholic bishop of African descent, James Healing, Cardinal Richard Cushing and William Henry Houghton who served as President of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Some of Boston’s most notorious gangsters have also called Southie home, such as Whitey Bulger and Kevin Weeks.
In the last 20 years South Boston has become a highly desirable residential neighborhood, as the industrial areas are converted to condos and apartments. Residents enjoy the convenience of South Boston living, as well as the amenities available in the neighborhood. Fort Point is a hub for the arts community, and has a large population of working artists.
Getting to South Boston
Using the T: Red Line, Broadway and Andrew stations serve South Boston. JFK-UMass station is in neighboring Dorchester, but is very close to South Boston. By Car: Use Exit 25 of Interstate 90 and Exit 16 of Interstate 93 serve South Boston.
Things to do in South Boston
The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Southie is a longstanding Boston tradition. Plan to arrive a few hours in advance if you want to stake out a spot. Parking is a nightmare: taking the T is strongly recommended.
Check out the Boston Harbor Islands National Park! In-season ferries leave from Dock #10 in South Boston.
The first new art museum to be built in Boston in over 100 years, the Institute of Contemporary Art is worth the visit. The permanent collection is small, but there are always temporary exhibitions taking place with works from up-and-coming artists.
The South Boston Waterfront has 55 restaurants, four hotels and nine major attractions as a result of redevelopment efforts. The Waterfront is also home to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
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