Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Back Bay – Item 4 of 7

commave1878
No. 1 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass., (1878-1910). 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.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.  This photograph taken after 1878 documents the area as development was proceeding.

 

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