Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Back Bay – Item 3 of 7

commave1872
Commonwealth Avenue in Process, 1872. Courtesy Print Department.
The development of Commonwealth Avenue was not a continuous process.  As land was created, lots were sold and homes were built, although a recession in 1873 slowed sales for years.  An 1872 photograph documents the area in the midst of construction.Overcrowding downtown was forcing professionals and business owners into the suburbs.  In hopes of retaining a wealthy population in the city, Back Bay was developed to appeal to affluent sensibilities.  Removed from the commercial district, with its beautiful residences, tree-lined boulevards, and cultural institutions, prosperous Bostonians were proud to call the area home.

 

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