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Border wars: The shifting line between Dorchester and Roxbury

The Bay State Banner surveys the shifting of the line between Dorchester and Roxbury over the centuries.



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I guess "Technical High School" got lost in history.

Franklin Park has always been in Roxbury.

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And since West Roxbury became a town in its own right in 1851, I think we can say with confidence that Franklin Park is in the same neighborhood as the West Roxbury District Court- Jamaica Plain (for some reason.)

It should be fun today.

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At one time Healy Field and Playground (Roslindale) was labeled the Forest Hills Playground on old area maps you find at Ward Maps on line.

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... the park was in Roxbury, unless I'm mis-reading this-- https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:9s161933d
so that's about 25+ years before Franklin Park was developed as part of the Emerald Necklace, and 7 years after West Roxbury became an independent town, so it seems to have never been part of an independent West Roxbury. What I haven't found, yet, is when exactly it was renamed. Maybe at the dedication? I'll keep looking for a bit.

(edited for clarity)

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And according to the map cited, that which would become Franklin Park was on the West Roxbury side of the line.

And I am sure the old timers here would recognize the Newstead and Montglade sections of West Roxbury depicted on the map.

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That make sense. I read the Seaver Street stretch as the old Minton Street extension.

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considers Franklin Park as part of Mattapan in their zoning maps.

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OMG! These is fightin’ words! Grove Hall was And most definitely Is in Dorchester at border of Roxbury
Boston Tech (and now Boston Latin Academy) is in Dorchester on TOWNSEND Street - the border of Dot & Rox with the the property beyond headed toward Dudley side in Roxbury.
The streets from Townsend headed toward Grove Hall side in Dorchester.
Mission Hill is and always has been a neighborhood of ROXBURY - the Longwood Medical Area is a branding tool by the city and business (similar to “methadone mile”)and NOT An official neighborhood.
Fields Corner is a Dorchester neighborhood.
Franklin Park is most definitely NOT IN roxbury - it is in Dorchester Mattapan, JP.
Maybe a tiny sliver touches Walnut Ave near Egleston square which is JP. Seaver Street is Dorchester, Columbia Rd is Dot, the VF W and Blue Hill Ave is Dot and Mattapan.
Just because the city has new development zones, and real estate brokers/developers try to rebrand - that does not change the legal documented and recorded maps.
There is no South Dorchester and North Dorchester - it is just Dorchester with distinct individual areas, squares, villages. And roxbury extends to Mass Ave! There is no lower south end or whatever it is called. However there is the Back of the Hill (Beacon) which is where the servants/workers for Beacon Hill lived.
if Dorchester was a separate city it is about the population of Worcester mass. It has a has the most waterfront if the rest of the City (unfortunately way underutilized). And yes lots of shootings. Also the things we used to call different sections (savin hill, stab n kill) etc have gone to the wayside. But also lots of restaurants - all flavors, big mix of people, and very politically active.
Whew! glad i got that off my (hairy) chest.

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One of the most heated social media fights I ever witnessed was during the Boston 2024 debacle, over where the Roxbury-Dot line is around Grove Hall and around Newmarket Square. The developers planning on gentrifying and exploiting the neighborhood surrounding the proposed soccer stadium kept trying to rebrand it with a name that wasn't Roxbury or Dorchester.

Media using "Roxbury" as a signal to racists reinforces local real estate offices and AirBNB doing the same, constantly. For gods sake,if you looked at AirBNB listings, you'd wonder if Roxbury even exists. When I lived on School, Seaver, and Forest Hills Streets around Egleston Square, it was Roxbury, no arguments. Now I see that area described as JP or Dot, or even as "The Egleston neighborhood of Boston."

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Egelston Square used to be in JP , then it moved to Roxbury.

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Before the internet got invented I guess. It was a logistic thing not subject to public approval, more due to needs of business.

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Near Grove Hall, I like using Normandy St as a reference line to somewhat arbitrarily define the boundary.
It gets interesting when they built the new Grove Hall branch library (a Roxbury place) as an addition to the Burke High School (definitely a Dorchester place)

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Pearl hot dogs used to be made in Grove Hall Roxbury at one time. Fun Fact !

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