Beacon Hill is a historic part of Boston, Massachusetts, which along with neighboring Back Bay is home to around 26,000 people. It is a terraced house federal-style and is known for its narrow streets, gas lighting and brick sidewalks. Today, Beacon Hill is considered one of the most desirable and expensive areas of Boston.
The Beacon Hill area is located just north of Boston Common and Public Garden in Boston and is limited generally to the south by Beacon Street, Somerset Street in the east, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive north along the banks of Charles River Esplanade to the west. The block bounded by Beacon, Tremont and Park Street is also included, as is the Boston Common itself. The level section of the west side of Charles Street, in landfills, is known locally as the "flat of the hill.''
Because the Massachusetts State House is located in a prominent place in the top of the hill, the term "Beacon Hill" is also often used as a metonymy in the local media to refer to the state government or the legislature.
Like many similarly named areas, the neighborhood is named after the location of an old lighthouse atop the highest point in central Boston, once located just behind the current site of the Massachusetts State House. The hill, and two other nearby hills, was substantially reduced in height to allow housing development in the area and use the land to create land by filling the Mill Pond in the northeast.
The whole hill was once owned by William Blaxton, the first European settler of Boston, from 1625 to 1635, he sold his land to the Puritans. The south slope of Beacon Hill, facing the common was socially desirable side in the 19th century. Black Beacon Hill was on the northern slope. The two hills were largely united on the subject of abolition. Beacon Hill was one of the first centers of the movement against slavery in the antebellum era.
In 1937, the Late George Apley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, gave a satirical description of the upper class white residents of Beacon Hill.
Until a major project of urban renewal in the 1950s, the red district of Scollay Square bloomed just east of Beacon Hill, like the West End neighborhood to the north. Beacon Hill was declared a National Historic Landmark on 19 December 1962.
Many sites of interest are located in the neighborhood including Suffolk University, Park Street Church, and the Francis Parkman House. The Bull and Finch Bar on Beacon Street is located in the area and was the inspirational source behind the exterior shots of the Cheers television show.
There are several museums in the area including the Museum of African American History which is New England's largest museum that is dedicated to the contribution of African American exhibitions. The museum is located at the African Meeting House.