Katie Hargrave / Boston's foreign land
Standing on the top of this hill in Somerville, I notice how much of the landscape of Boston has changed. The Shawmut Peninsula, what Boston was first known as by Europeans, consisted of many hills and comparatively little land. There are clues to the changes of the land, of which this vista is one. Tremont Street is so called because of the Tri-Mountain, which consisted of Pemberton, Beacon, and Mt. Vernon. Copps Hill was drastically cut. Fort Hill as well. And there are other clues. Back Bay refers to a body of water filled in the later half of ther 19th century, and the Fenway to a swamp filled in the first quarter of the 20th. Legend has it, and most would believe, that where one walks on a long straight street, one walks on landfill, and where the crooked paths take you, that is the original Boston. This legend, however, is in no way true, much of downtown boston itself is landfill or has been flattened. Like the Statehouse, which stands where Beacon Hill once was. Areas that host historically ethnic communities, like South Boston's Irishmen and the Italians of the North End, these communities were separated by water from the rest of Boston. The North End was originally entirely separate during high tide. South Boston landfill began in 1836.
Imagine what we would have seen, and compare it to what we see now. "The city on the hill" is instead a city flattened, homogenized, made larger and yet less grand.
Boston's foreign land is a series of signs and markers placed in and around Boston.
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