Bay Village is the smallest and perhaps least known of all Boston neighborhoods, with a population of about 2,100 residents, most living in small brick row houses. The Massachusetts Turnpike is the southern boundary of the quarter, which coincides with the right of way of Boston and Worcester Railroad, and was established in the 1830s.
Marginal Highway and Cortes Street are the surface roads that run along the Pike. Throughout the Pike to the southwest is the South End neighborhood; southeast of the Pike and Tremont Street is the southern edge of Chinatown. To the west of Berkeley Street and north of Columbus Street (west of Arlington Street) is the Back Bay neighborhood. In North Stuart Street is Park Square, and east of Charles Street is the theater district.
Bay Village is relatively quiet due to limited automobile traffic. There is a non-grid agreement and one-way street arrangement that makes the residential streets on the interior peaceful.
Traditionally there were exclusively average lower-middle class residing here, but the neighborhood has become relatively expensive and luxury from around the 1990s.
The western part of the neighborhood was originally part of the body of water known as the Back Bay, west of the isthmus of the neck of Boston. This area was once known as South Bay, in the original waterline was in the area of Arlington Street (formerly Fernando Street). In the 1820s, the neighborhood was full of land by developer Ephraim Marsh before landfill mass of Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. Throughout its history, the neighborhood has been known at different times as the Church Street District, South Cove and Kerry Village.
Architecturally, the Bay of many village homes seems smaller versions of Beacon Hill homes. This is largely because many of the craftsmen who built the Beacon Hill residences were established in this area and built local residences for their own use. Fayette Street, named after the hero of the War of Independence, the Marquis de Lafayette, has many houses dating from the Federal period. Grander five-story townhouses in the Greek revival style are located in the Melrose Street. After the area west of Arlington Street were full, residential developers to build luxury "hotels" in the Victorian style in Cortes and Isabella Street.
During the second half of 1800, some streets in Bay Village were raised 12-18 feet, like the South End and Back Bay were created by the dumping continued. Visitors can see evidence of this today by noting the location of the basement windows in some buildings of Fayette Street, and the arches opening rides running under houses in the stable rear.
Today, the neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of architectural styles and an interesting mix of residents - married, single, students, professionals, families with children of all ages, varied ethnic backgrounds - all calling Bay Village home. The district has some of the best parks, restaurants, theaters and cultural centers throughout the city.