Beacon Hill

One of Boston's oldest communities, Beacon Hill gets its name from a beacon that once stood atop its hill to warn locals about foreign invasion. Approximately one square mile in size, Beacon Hill is bound by Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive. Its architecture and lay- out is reflective of old colonial Boston, consisting of brick row houses with beautiful doors, decorative iron work, brick sidewalks, narrow streets, and gas lamps. Beacon Hill is also home to the Massachusetts State House and America's first African Meeting House. Charles Street, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, is lined with antique shops and restaurants. Beacon Hill has been home to many notable Americans, including Louisa May Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Daniel Webster, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, and Senator John Kerry.

Exploring the Neighborhood

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News & Press Releases »


Videos & Multimedia »

  • Zoning Board of Appeal Hearings 10-6-15
    Zoning regulates the use and dimensional boundaries of privately owned buildings and land. The Zoning code is in place to protect the neighborhoods from the construction of buildings or structures that do not fit into the context of a neighborhood. The Zoning Board of Appeal hears appeals for varying the application of the Zoning Code and determines when it is appropriate to grant deviations from code restrictions. Watch Video »
  • Public Improvement Commission Hearings 06-11-15
    The Boston Public Improvement Commission (PIC) is the owner and regulator of the City's rights of way. The PIC plays an integral role in the City's development and permitting process. From the restaurant that wants to add a seasonal cafe on the public sidewalk, to the developer who wants to construct an underground parking garage for a new housing development, or the homeowner who wants to add an architectural feature to a house that juts into the public space, each must seek approval from the PIC to have its private venture occupy public space, either permanently or on a licensed basis. Watch Video »