United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury

About Lower Roxbury

Lower Roxbury is a great place to live. With a vibrant history of community activism and multi-generational families, the Lower Roxbury neighborhood truly represents the heart of Boston. For over 350 years, the area has been home to families of many cultures and backgrounds. We are proud of our heritage and inspired to work for a prosperous future.

Boundaries

Lower Roxbury is generally bounded by Tremont St. on the North, Massachusetts Ave. on the East, Harrison Ave. on the South and Melnea Cass Blvd. on the West.

History

Founded by English colonists in 1630, Roxbury began as an independent community, connected to Boston only by a narrow neck of land along Washington Street. Today, after massive landfill and annexation to Boston, Roxbury is at the city's geographical center. It contains buildings and landmarks that tell the story of three centuries. Even with dense urban development, Roxbury has much open, green space, a legacy of its days as a farming town and as an early suburb.

Even in colonial days, Lower Roxbury, located along Roxbury's border with the South End, had an industrial character with mills and tanneries. As the marshes were filled in, factories and warehouses took their place. Workers' housing was also constructed in Lower Roxbury, usually wooden tenements and row-houses. The neighborhood also contains an example of model workers' housing at Frederick Douglass Square (Greenwich, Warwick, and Sussex streets), small brick row-houses built in the 1880s.

Urbanization

Forty years ago, before urban renewal razed more than 2,000 units of housing to make way for the planned Inner Belt Highway, Lower Roxbury had parks and schools.

Now the view down Warwick Streets ends with a narrow strip of parkland before the hustle and din of Melnea Cass Boulevard. Several dozen neighbors living in the six streets bounded by Windsor, Warwick, Westminster and Hammond streets are all that remains of the Lower Roxbury enclave.

Also remaining is the meeting house at 90 Windsor st., where many from the neighborhood used to hold their meetings, parties, weddings and political forums. Now they are trying to bring that building back from the dead.