Today, the Back Bay is one of the most attractive neighborhoods in America, and one of the most picture-perfect parts of the City of Boston. Unique shops, trendy restaurants, and vintage homes line its main streets. It’s not uncommon to see celebrities walking along Newbury Street, Boylston Street, or Commonwealth Avenue. Even the Back Bay’s buildings are famous. Here you'll find the Prudential Center, the John Hancock Tower, Trinity Church, and the Boston Public Library, among others.
Before its transformation into buildable land by a 19th-century filling project, the Back Bay was literally a bay. By the 1800′s, the success of Boston’s shipping and manufacturing industries had led to intense overcrowding and Boston developers looked toward the Back Bay.
In the 1820′s, The Roxbury and Boston Mill Company built a dam, running across the Back Bay from the Public Garden to Brookline, to draw power for its mills. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided to fill in the dam in 1856, and build a new neighborhood on top of the wasteland. Using new steam engine technology, land was hauled in from Needham, 25 miles outside of Boston. After nearly 25 years of construction, the entire Back Bay was filled in, from the Public Garden to Kenmore Square.
The new Back Bay neighborhood quickly developed into Boston’s premier arts and culture center. Copley Square (originally Art Square) housed the original Museum of Fine Arts and the original campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1895, construction of the Boston Public Library, the nation’s first branch library, was completed.
Architect Arthur Gilman planned the Back Bay as a fashionable residential district. Having travelled to Paris, Gilman was greatly influenced by Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris with wide, parallel, tree-lined avenues unlike anything seen in other Boston neighborhoods at the time. Harmonious rows of three- and four-story residential brownstones give the Back Bay a uniform appearance considered one of the best-preserved examples of 19th-century urban architecture in the United States. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a protected historic district.
Back Bay real estate is consistently ranked among the most expensive in the City of Boston, with a median sales price well above $1 million.
Median Sale Price: $1,200,000
Average Sale Price: $1,807,584
Average Price Per Square Foot: $1,261
Single-Family Homes Sold: 6
Highest Single-Family Home Sale Price: $9,235,000
Condominiums Sold: 420
Highest Condominium Sale Price: $12,550,000
*For the most up-to-date real estate market analysis of the neighborhood, contact us directly.
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Back Bay Lifestyle
As the Back Bay evolved from an empty stretch of landfill to a full residential district, commercial development began on Boylston Street around 1880 and on Newbury Street in the early 20th century. Today, the neighborhood is considered as one of the top shopping and dining destinations in the country. With a number of high-end restaurants, galleries, hotels, and stores, the Back Bay has a bit of everything for everyone.
- L'Espalier - Modern French
- Sorellina - Italian
- Mistral - French-Mediterranean
- The Capital Grille - American Steakhouse
- Asta - New American
- Uni - Sushi
- Douzo Sushi - Japanese
- Flour Bakery - Bakery
- Parish Cafe - Cafe