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Is it Roxbury or the South End?

Response to http://www.universalhub.com/node/2850
Roxbury or the South End, somebody's still dead

The South End is legitimately Roxbury. The name Roxbury is used two ways... first, as a borough, like Jamaica Plain. As boroughs, both these places have neighborhoods within them. JP has Egleston Sq. for example, Roxbury has Dudley Sq. and the South End… and Boston has Beacon Hill. But the name Roxbury is also used to delineate a certain section of Roxbury as well, and that would be considered the "heart" of the entire borough. It's because the demographics changed over time. At one point everything south of the Muddy River was Roxbury, and during that time, the entire South End was a marshland. The South End has grown since then, but in actuality, according to the city of Boston, the South End is in Roxbury, because it's always been "in" Roxbury. I hope that makes sense.

And Lenox St. is considered the line dividing the South End and Roxbury sections of Roxbury.

And BTW, I live in Roxbury and I have for 3 years recently and nothing bad has ever happened to me. I also lived in Roxbury from 1999-2001, before moving to JP. I was so happy to move back to Roxbury. My neighbors are awesome and we talk all the time, and help each other out. And everybody puts their trash in a trashcan, unlike South Enders… it stupefies me why South Enders don’t mind having trash all over the sidewalk. Anyways, back to my tale, when I lived in JP, my neighbors were not nearly as friendly or helpful, and here is a list of the crime that happened to me while living in a “nice” part of JP:
1. Car stolen… it showed up somewhere a week later.
2. Jumped by a group of teenage girls while riding my bike, then hit in the face.
3. Car window smashed, and bag stolen.
4. First floor of my house broken into, good thing I lived on the 2nd floor.
Again, nothing bad has happened to me living in Roxbury proper. I feel safer here, than in most other parts of Boston. And I’m a skinny white girl.

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Boston doesn't have boroughs.

[insert requisite comment suggesting the poster go back to New York]

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All of the South End has NOT always been part of Roxbury. When Boston was connected to the Roxbury by an isthmus of land, part of that isthmus was called Boston Neck, the other part was called Roxbury Neck. The gate between the two towns was at Dover St (now E. Berkeley St).

As Boston grew and began filling in the tidal lands, the cities negotiated land transfers from Roxbury to Boston. As the border moved south from Dover St the tidal lands were filled by Boston, thereby making the newly acquired land the southern end of Boston, a.k.a. the South End (the North End and West End probably have similar development histories, but that's for someone else to explain). The portion of the Neck that was existing land around Washington St was annexed to Boston, but the area that was swamp and/or water was created to become Boston, not annexed from Roxbury.

Until the 1800s, Roxbury also had peninsulas which jutted into the tidal flats along the Charles River (which became part of the Back Bay) and into South Bay. Those peninsulas, along with Mission Hill, the Longwood area, and parts of the Fenway were all part of Roxbury at the time of Roxbury's annexation to Boston in 1868.

As far as I know, Lenox St wasn't ever part of or along the border between Roxbury and Boston. Most people I know consider Mass Ave as the current line between Roxbury and the South End, even though historically, the division hasn't been a straight line since it moved south from Dover St.

You can see how Roxbury changed by viewing the historic maps assembled by Discover Roxbury at http://www.discoverroxbury.org/#/historicmaps/4528...

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rather than water, it has been in the City of Boston, not the Town of Roxbury.

(while I was posting this, 3D above went into a lot more detail)

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Names, and neighborhoods, change.

*Scollay Square - knocked down and reborn Govt Center

*Jamaica Plain used to be part of Roxbury, then West Roxbury

As long as the police, firemen, and etc. still respond, and as long as the 911 dispatcher knows where to send them, does it really matter what we call it?

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Of course it's great that emergency services know where to go. But for a community, a name isn't just a name. Names are also part of how the people in a community establish a cohesive identity. Names carry weight and are used - often wrongly - to pigeonhole people and areas into stereotypes. Think about how carefully the Back Bay and Beacon Hill cultivate their identities in regard to their names.

When the housing market was still hot, some properties in Roxbury were being marketed as being in the South End. If the name of the neighborhood didn't matter, why would the realtor have listed the property as being in an entirely different place? There was a discussion about it at http://third_decade.typepad.com/killing_time/2006/...

Getting back to your own example, changing the names of places also serves to erase the identity and memory of what used to be there. With the exception of a few buildings and the street pattern, Scollay Square was destroyed to create Government Center. That wasn't a simple matter of a change, that was a complete erasure. You can see the difference between the two at

And it's continuing in Southie: http://www.universalhub.com/node/14952

So, yes, names matter.

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That was the former South End, all the fucking strollers on the sidewalk is a clear signal the gay community has permanently relocated to Dorchester and elsewhere.

Only the queens that need their on-demand beeper exctasy delivery continue to linger.

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