Boston: History of the Landfills

Slide show of Boston

The Changing face of Boston's
Topography and Architecture

A visitor from 1990 would scarcely recognize the Boston area of 1630. The very landscape has been transformed tremendously in the last 360 years. The land area of Boston has more than tripled since 1630. It may not always be apparent to the driver navigating the narrow streets of Boston, but the creation of this city is one of the great engineering feats of American History.

Note: the following animations are animated gifs, and require no special software or plug-ins; most recent browsers should display the image sequences automatically. They are reduced versions of an earlier presentation.

Slide Show, part 1
17th century

Slide Show, part 2
18th century

Slide Show, part 3

Slide Show, part 4

Slide Show, part 5
Quincy Market, 1820s

Slide Show, part 6
The Back Bay, part 1

Slide Show, part 7
The Back Bay, part 2

Slide Show, part 8
The South End

Slide Show, part 9
1872 Fire

Boston Population

LandFill Sequence

The Big Dig:

Examining the pattern of landfill projects reveals much about the history of the city. Boston today is bustling, densely populated, and many of the original landmarks which distinguished the topography of the city have been irrevocably altered, or lost from sight.

Boston Landfill -- Page 2
Boston Landfill -- Page 3

Table of Contents | Quick Index: | 17th century | 18th century | 19th century | 20th century | Architecture links | Fine Arts department home page

Other options for study

of this site

Other Architecture
Web Links

Fine Arts Department Home Page

Boston College
Jeffery Howe, 1996