In the 1600s, William Blaxton set up his farmstead on Beacon Hill because it was far from the bustle of the city. John Hancock’s uncle Thomas built his mansion on the Hill in the 1700s so he could enjoy a rural style of life. In the early 1800s, future mayor of Boston Harrison Gray Otis moved to Beacon Hill because it was the new and fashionable neighborhood he was helping to create. Louisa May Alcott in the 19th century and Robert Frost in the 20th lived on the Hill because the literary set loved the neighborhood’s picturesque streets and close quarters, which made it easy to get together for conversation.
The 9,000 residents who live in this small, urban neighborhood today appreciate its walkability, convenience, quirkiness and neighborliness. The Internet may have invaded their homes, but the historic architecture, ever-burning gas lamps, rugged bricks and small, one-of-a-kind shops prove that the best of the past can live comfortably with the novelty of the present.
Legendary Locals of Beacon Hill is available at several shops on Charles Street, Beacon Hill’s main street, which is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. It is also available on Amazon.com.