Among the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Boston is the North End, which is distinguished for its Old-World architecture and vibrant Italian-American culture. Though the city holds a number of other, divergent neighborhoods, many Bostonians and visitors alike frequent the North End for it’s impressive offering of restaurants, bars and cafes. The North End exists in the modern day as a bustling spot with a booming food scene, but the neighborhood wasn’t always this way. In today’s blog, we’ll be taking a look at a brief history of the North End and how it developed into the neighborhood you know it as today.
The Beginnings of the North End
As early as the 17th century, settlers had made their mark on the land that is now known as the North End. By the mid-century, the North Meeting House, one of the city’s oldest congregational churches, served as a religious community center for locals. As the city of Boston started to develop by the dawn of the 18th century, the North End followed suit, attracting a multitude of wealthy and prominent families, now with more elaborate brick houses being built at a steady rate. It was also during this era when the Old North Church, one of the most iconic and historical structures in Boston, was constructed.
As the 18th century approached, the streets of the North End – and Boston as a whole – began to reverberate with the cries of revolution. One brazen event occurred on February 2, 1770 on Hanover Street, when 11-year-old Christopher Seider was killed by British loyalist Ebenezer Richardson, who fired at an angry mob of revolutionaries that had gathered outside the Customs Office. During the British occupation of Boston, the aforementioned North Meeting House had been complacently demolished by British authorities, dismantling it’s materials for firewood.
Changes From 19th Century Onward
Following the Revolution, the North End endured a great amount of cultural and commercial change, namely an influx of European immigrants. Though the neighborhood became more developed and culturally diverse, it experienced large-scale problems such as overcrowding and religious dissent between Irish Catholics and Protestants. In the opening years of the 20th century, the North End was hit hard by the likes of the Spanish Influenza, wreaking havoc on countless families throughout the neighborhood.
Nevertheless, the neighborhood soldiered on, and underwent major development, ultimately becoming the North End that we know today.
In the North End? Visit Us at Strega!
Whether you’re in the North End for a day, or perhaps in the city for a weekend, we’d love to see you here at Strega. Offering a delicious selection of food and drink, Strega is located on historic Hanover Street right here in the North End! Call us at 617-523-8481 to make a reservation today!