Boston: Built on Water

I’ve always enjoyed looking at old maps of Boston that show how the coastline has changed over the past 400 years, as more and more “man made land” was created. I was just talking about this over the weekend with a few friends, and then today National Geographic put out a piece, “How Boston Made Itself Bigger,” with some great maps illustrating the changes.

Here’s the simplest view, comparing 1630 to today:

Picture of the original shoreline from 1630 is visible in dark green on this map

A few things:

  • As a South Boston resident for 10 years, I’m getting tired of my mom telling me that when sea levels rise, I’m dangerously close to the water. Look mom, I don’t live in the filled in area! (and yes, I’ve checked the topographic maps as well)
  • Castle Island used to be an island!
  • I suspect the Back Bay neighborhood is nicer than the original “Back Bay”
  • I suspect the original “South Bay” was nicer than the South Bay Shopping Plaza
  • “Noddles Island” is a better name than East Boston

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