September 5, 2020

Architecture in Boston’s North End consists primarily of early 1900s tenement housing. Despite being cheaply built for the immigrants they originally housed, the four and five-story buildings have stood the test of time. The interiors having been largely modernized, but the exteriors still maintain most of their original features. 

Tenement Architecture in Boston's North End - Photo by @mattcontiphoto

Note the copper bump-outs for light and air in what was once the country's most densely populated neighborhood. And despite the need for economy, there always seemed to be an effort to add a few ornate touches on the eaves and facades. 

  • North End Architecture

  • Henchman Street architecture and Old North

  • Battery Street Architecture

Zooming out a bit, the streetscapes show the rowhouse-style tenements and the simple, yet attractive, streetscape design. The triangular street patterns also created iconic viewpoints, including the North End corner of Prince and Salem Streets.

  • Hanover Street Streetscape

  • Clouds over Prince and Salem Streets

I hope you enjoyed this series of architecture images from Boston's North End. If you are not already signed up for my photo newsletter, please subscribe here for future updates. 


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  • Matt

    on March 28, 2021

    Thank you for your comment, Patricia. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and post.

    I do not have an explanation of the open space in the middle of the tenements other than for light and air. But, you could be right that have a space to store garbage outside might make sense too. I remember Martignetti Liquors on Cross Street.

  • Patricia Gardner

    on March 28, 2021

    Matt: Thank you for your lovely photos and description of the historic North End.
    I lived at 340 North St. during the mid 70's.befoe gentrification. If I stuck my head out my living room window far enough I could see Boston Harbor.
    The layout of the tenements was quite interesting. Just off my kitchen was a door that led to the bathroom (commode only). Mine was the only apartment that had a shower. So I got to know my
    Could you please describe for me the outdoor open air space that was in the middle of the tenement? Was it used for garbage? I often wondered about that. Another interesting detail of the building was that the Anastasia Bros Bananas was located next door. It was a mixed use area. I also recall the Hanover St. Fish market located next door to Martinneti liquors. All that is required in life. Thank you for allowing me to walk down memory lane.

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