While Boston received its’ name from a town in England, the neighborhoods have a bit more of a unique story; at least in some cases. A city filled with so much history, Boston offers several incredible neighborhoods. Have you ever taken the time to discover how they got their names?

Let’s look at some of the largest Boston neighborhoods and how each one was named.

Beacon Hill

This one seems a bit obvious, because of the hills that make up the area. Some say there are three, other say five, but the one giving Beacon Hill its’ name is known by the name Beacon Hill due to the signaling beacon found atop. The name stuck and today, it’s a very popular neighborhood in Boston.

Dorchester

Dorchester, MA

The largest neighborhood in Boston by area received its’ name in the same way the city of Boston was named. Dorchester is named for a town found in southern England. It used to be an independent town until it became a part of Boston in 1870.

Fenway

Exactly how Fenway got its’ name isn’t 100% clear. Some say it’s named after the Back Bay Fens, which is a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Others believe the home came from the road running along the neighborhood.

Fens is a term used to describe the flood-prone or marshy area. Some call it “the Fenway” and others may think the name is due to Fenway Park, but it’s not named due to the baseball stadium.

Jamaica Plain

Often called “JP” this neighborhood has a few theories around the name. Some believe the name comes from the Caribbean Island due to the wealth of come residents coming from this area’s rum and sugar tree. Others believe the name comes from the Anglicization of the name of a Native American Leader or even a Native American tribe known as Jameco.

Where the name comes from, exactly, isn’t known, but Jamaica Plain became a part of Boston in 1874. Before then, it was a part of the town of Roxbury.

Roslindale

Roslindale, MA

The name Roslindale was created in 1870 to rename what was known as South Street Crossing. The original name was due to the railroad crossing, but it wasn’t acceptable to the U.S. Postal Service.

The suggestion to name the area after a bucolic village found just outside Edinburg, Scotland stuck. The village was called Roslin and the residents of the time added the “dale” to make it a bit more unique.

Roxbury

Originally, Roxbury was a town as a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was likely named after the Roxbury puddingstone, which is still the official rock of the state of Massachusetts.

West Roxbury

This neighborhood received its name simply by being the western part of Roxbury and seceding from Roxbury in 1851. It became a part of Boston in 1874.

There are several other neighborhoods in Boston to look at and discover where the names came from. Part 2 of this blog series will cover a few more popular Boston neighborhoods and where the names came from.

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