The Saint Botolph area was created in 1857, as part the large-scale land filling efforts that occurred during the 19th century, when public health concerns and a need to accommodate Boston’s growing population led to infill of Boston’s tidal lands. Development in Saint Botolph began c.1881, when the first permits to build residential structures in the area were issued.
By the end of the 1880s, approximately half of the Saint Botolph area had been developed. Of these structures, approximately 90% were designed as single-family residences. The remaining buildings were situated along the Massachusetts and Huntington Avenue edges of the neighborhood and consisted primarily of four-story, four-family apartment buildings and included such institutional and public buildings as the Elysium Club, the American Legion of Honor, and hotels. In 1891 a public elementary school was built in St. Botolph, the first yellow brick structure in an area previously dominated by red brick.
The remainder of Saint Botolph was developed during the 1890s. The new decade brought a change in predominant building type; while the development that occurred during the 1880s had favored single-family homes, the 1890s were dominated by the construction four-story flats and other multi-family structures. In addition, the use of lighter colored materials became more prevalent, reflecting the decline in popularity of Victorian styles and the emergence of the more austere Classical Revival style.
Saint Botolph was historically home to a population of artists, writers, musicians, and craftspeople. Bela L. Pratt, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Philip Henry Savage are among the artists and writers that are known to have lived and worked there.
Despite its proximity to the Back Bay and South End, a combination of rapid development and the fact that multiple buildings were built currently by speculators (as opposed to the development of individual properties by individual landowners) lends Saint Botolph an intimacy and visual cohesiveness not found in its larger neighbors. Elements of the Classical Revival, Georgian Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Queen Anne styles are found throughout the area.
The Saint Botolph Architectural Conservation District was designated in 1981.
All exterior work, including work at rooftops, that is, or will be, visible from any public way (including Southwest Corridor Park) requires the review of the St. Botolph Architectural Conservation Commission. A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work that is visible from a public way.
See the Standards and Criteria for the Saint Botolph Architectural Conservation District for further information.
Applications, application instructions, and a schedule of filing deadlines and hearing dates are available below. To save time and costs, property owners and developers are encouraged to contact staff early on in the project planning process, in order to obtain information on compliance with guidelines.
Please note that Commission staff is not available to review applications for completeness immediately upon submittal.
Please review all instructions and documentation requirements carefully before submitting your application.
It is your responsibility to ensure the application is complete before submittal. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.