Many towns, villages and cities have a Beacon Hill. Back in the 17th and 18th every community would place a Beacon on top of the highest hill to serve as a guide.
It is hard to believe, looking at Beacon Hill today with its population of about 10,000, that back at the beginning of the 17th century Beacon Hill was owned by one person, William Blaxton, who has the distinction of being the very first settler of Boston.
The Beacon Hill Neighborhood in Boston started out just this way. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was wilderness and then pasture land except for a few of the very wealthy who had their country estates there.
Beacon Hill is divided into three distinct districts. The South Slope, The North Slope and the Flats.
The neighborhood was built one section at a time, the first one being on the south slope of the hill. The development began in 1790 and it was intended for the rich and very famous of the time. It was laid out in an almost geometrical pattern, with wide streets.
The North Slope was just the opposite. I was for the poorer classes such as former slaves and it was not laid out with any form or function. The streets could lead almost anywhere. When the great waves of immigrants hit Boston in the latter part of the 1800’s, the North Slope of Beacon Hill was one of the neighborhoods they gravitated to.
And now the last part of Beacon Hill The Flat. It was created by a landfill project involving the Charles River, as is the case in a few of the neighborhoods of Boston. It was the part of Beacon Hill that was for the trades men. The Blacksmiths and others.
With all of the diversified groups in Beacon Hill, the neighborhood was a leader in the anti slave movement.
So, there is the original plan for Beacon Hill, and area for the rich, and area for the working class and an area for the tradesmen.
The residents of Beacon Hill are proud of their history and do a lot to preserve its history. The streets still have gas lights, cobble stone streets and the old brownstone houses. Unfortunately, one great historical landmark was lost when John Hancock’s country estate, was demolished to make room for the western addition to the Massachusetts State House. It is such a shame that they could not find a way to save a home that played so much a part in history.
A house in Beacon Hill today, depending on the location, can cost anywhere from $1,500,000 to a whopping $18,000,000 for a mansion near the State House.