It’s Boston’s unofficial shopping capital. But here are five things you didn’t know about Newbury Street.
1. Part Of Boston Harbor?
The early history of Newbury Street all took place under water. Up until the mid 1800’s, the area was actually a part of Boston Harbor. Starting in 1857, part of the harbor was filled into what would become the Back Bay section of Boston.The area was filled to Clarendon Street by 1860, to Exeter Street by 1870, and was completed in 1882.
2. Newbury Street’s First Building
Once Newbury became an actual street, the next step was to start building on it. The very first building completed was Emmanuel Church at 15 Newbury Street. The church is still there to this day, and is an influential Episcopal church.
3. More Prestigious Than Beacon Hill
Before becoming the center of Boston shopping, Newbury Street was actually one of the most prestigious areas to live in. At the time, virtually all of the buildings were very new, and their European design elements made them aesthetically pleasing. By the 1880’s and 1890’s they had eclipsed the Beacon Hill area as the most desirable place to live in the city. The houses were bigger than most others, and had amenities that other places didn’t have yet, such as indoor plumbing.
4. MIT Campus
Between 1865 and 1916, Newbury Street was the location of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The campus soon grew to include 2 large academic buildings. By the beginning of the twentieth century, smaller scaled townhouses and social establishments filled in much of the length of the street. MIT’s existence on Newbury was soon erased, as several of their structures were demolished.
5. The Establishment
The first commercial establishment opened around 1905, and by the late 1920s part of Newbury Street had well begun to establish itself as a destination for upper class society. Soon, more and more retailers moved in, many of them adding feature wide glass windows to show their luxury goods. The addition of Newbury Comics in the 1970s added a younger crowd, cementing Newbury Street’s status as a Trendy shopping destination.
Bobby Driscoll is a student at Franklin Pierce University. He is currently interning at CBS Boston for the Summer of 2013.