The North End’s Hanover Street is one of several “streets” on the list of 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts.
Today, the North End is know for its Italian culture. But that is just the current iteration of this area of the city of Boston.
The North End sits on one of the tracts of original land of the Shawmut Peninsula. It’s the city’s oldest residential community. As the city’s leaders began filling in more and more land, the wealthy began moving out. At one point it had a big community of free and escaped slaves. In the early 19th century it was an area that the Irish began to migrate to the North End in huge numbers. Then a wave of Jewish immigrants followed.
In the early 20th century the latest wave of the city’s immigrants began taking over the neighborhood and it became an Italian community.
The wave of immigration to the area was because it was not a desirable place to live. People wanted to escape the cramped streets or urban life and tenement structures.
Now, with movement back to city life and improvements to the urban culture, the North End is a very desirable place to live. The area is full of great restaurants and has all the infrastructure for residential living. (The same cannot be said for the new Seaport district.)
With the completion of the Big Dig, Hanover street now connects with the rest of city, instead of plowing straight into a green behemoth of steel and traffic.