The Everetts lived at the corner of Washington Street and Blake’s Court in the South End. Their home was near where the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is now located. The image on the left gives an overview of the area on Washington Street and the blue arrow points to where the Everetts lived. If you look closely on the map, you will see that it says O.H. Everett.
In the 1830s, the South End neighborhood was still an empty expanse of land surrounded by salt marshes between Boston and the town of Roxbury and was nicknamed the “Boston Neck.” The Everetts moved to the South End as the landfill development began and lived on Blake’s Court, a section of old Boston that became known as the South End during development. This map from 1886 shows old Boston and the neck (circled in blue) in superimposed over new Boston that greatly shows how much Boston expanded from 1830 to the 1870s when the project finished.
In 1801, a plan by Charles Bulfinch was presented to develop the land around the Boston Neck as residents began to fill in along Washington Street to prevent erosion in the low-lying areas. Development slowly began in the 1830s when the city began filling in the Charles River basin to establish the South End. The plan was to establish an idyllic, Eden for the middling population. Bulfinch planned tree lined streets with elegant, brick townhouses with wrought iron gates that surrounded pocketed residential parks adorned with stately fountains. Although lot sales were slow in the beginning, some families did move to the South End to build their homes during the 1830s development.
During the 1840s, some Boston middle class families eagerly moved into the South End. These families included merchants, politicians, bankers, and industrialists, as well as bookkeepers, house servants and laborers. Bulfinch intended for this neighborhood to be for the middle-class, not the Brahmins of Beacon Hill. Three squares, Chester Square, Worcester Square, and Union Park were designed and built by the 1850s. Union Park was a great success because of its close proximity to downtown Boston and its beautifully designed park equipped with two matching lotus flower fountains. Father Otis Everett wrote to son, Otis B. Everett in 1851 “The South-end markes progesses rapidly; [Washington] street has been paved from Dover to Brookline Streets and Union Park is having an iron fence erected to round it, and preparations for a fountain, so we should look in nice order when you return.”
The Everetts represent a typical middle class family living in the South End. As members of the merchant class, they had servants and could afford luxuries that the working class could not. The children received proper educations that would ensure that they would stay in the middle class, if not move up to the upper class.
- John Neale (1998). A History of Union Park in the South End, 3
Next: Otis Everett, 1803-1886