Named after the English town Dorset from which immigrants originated, the area was annexed to Boston in 1870. The portion of the state that would become Boston, and eventually the neighborhood of Dorchester, was first settled in 1630 near what is now the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Columbia Road. The first public elementary school in the new nation was established in Dorchester in 1639 and still stands today. Dorchester is also home to chocolate, first refined and distributed in 1765 by Dr. James Baker.
In the 1800s, Dorchester was a popular destination for the state's well-to-do citizens. The era also saw much growth to the neighborhood thanks, in part, to quarries and railway lines. In the mid-1900s, Dorchester was deeply involved in the civil rights movement and, as time has passed, has become the destination for many of our country's immigrant population. Today, Dorchester is home to people from a more vast array of countries than anywhere else in Boston.
The neighborhood of Mid Dorchester is a subset of the larger neighborhood of Dorchester, which was named after the English town of Dorchester, one of many towns from which the Puritans emigrated. Founded in 1630, this thriving neighborhood predates the city itself. Dorchester was a separate municipality before Boston annexed it in 1870. It remains Boston's largest neighborhood.
Where is Mid Dorchester?
Mid Dorchester is between Dorchester proper and South Boston. Roxbury is to the west and the neighborhood fronts Boston Harbor on the east. The neighborhood's architecture reflects its history. There is an interesting mix of houses and building from every era of the city on display in the neighborhood, including many Victorian mansions.
Dorchester Avenue connects the neighborhood with the commercial districts and the rest of the city, but there is much to see and do inside Mid Dorchester. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the University of Massachusetts in Boston are nearby.
The river and the harbor provide excellent opportunities for recreation. Fishing, boating, birding and more are available at the Neponset River Recreation site. Sailboats can be rented at Harbor Point. The Franklin Park Zoo is a good place for a family outing. Other interesting sites are nearby, including the Commonwealth Museum and the Baker Chocolate Mill site.
Public art is on display throughout the neighborhood. There are also a number of nice neighborhood restaurants. Accommodations are scarce in Mid Dorchester but there are plenty to be had in the surrounding neighborhoods, and all are accessible by public transportation.