The brownstone is a beautiful & historic type of architecture that is very common in Boston. Many of the brownstones in Boston were built in the 1800's and were once single-family homes for Boston's wealthiest of residents. The brownstones in Boston are most common in the Back Bay, South End, & Beacon Hill. Most have now been chopped up into multiple condos & apartments.
Boston City Properties has 100's of listings of Boston brownstones. This website provides free access to the largest real estate database in the Boston area. Click the magnifying glass below to search 100's of up-to-the-minute apartments & condos in Boston. If you are interested in brownstones only, leave us a note in the "Notes section", and we can adjust the system to send the current list of up-to-the-minute brownstones for sale & rent!
In a time when ichthyosaurs swam the oceans and archosaurs roamed the earth, large deposits of sandstone made an appearance along the banks of what is now the Connecticut River. The earliest settlers found in this granular, porous rock a workability that assisted in the carving of ornate tombstones. During Boston's meteoric 19th century growth, however, contemporary architects looked beyond the graveyard to see the stone's beauty, abundance and potential as a building material.
The resulting brownstone terrace and row houses were instant favorites of Boston's wealthier set, providing them with an excellent opportunity to display their largesse through elaborate carved exteriors, long front stairways and intricate wrought iron details. Little has changed today. If anything, these three- to five-story brownstone beauties have risen in value and desirability. Modern-day Bostonians feel one of two ways: either they like their brownstones, or they love them.
Boston's brownstones proliferate in four distinct areas: the Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, and Charlestown.The Back Bay Brownstones
An optimal location gives residents of Boston's Back Bay brownstones a built-in opportunity to enjoy more than just the architecture. Many of these historic gems offer stunning views of the River Charles, and although it can be hard to visualize today, the land on which they stand was itself once a part of that river. The entire Back Bay region is the product of a massive 19th century backfilling project that enabled what was once a marshy tidal bay to evolve into one of Boston's most exclusive residential areas.
In keeping with the Back Bay's strict plot and setback restrictions, architects designed stately three- to four-story brownstones in cohesive variations of the Queen Anne style. Today, these well-preserved brownstones stand tall as some of the country's best examples of 19th-century architecture. The magnificence of these homes has helped to earn the entire Back Bay area a well-deserved place on the National Register of Historical Places. As a result, any planned changes to their exteriors must first pass muster with the Back Bay Architectural Commission.The South End Brownstones
Situated beside the Back Bay region, Boston's South End is as close to Beacon Hill as it is to the business district. Originally, the locality contained nothing more than a few mansions amid large expanses of open field. In the 1840s, though, a growing population forced the city to enlarge the area by backfilling the surrounding marshes. Ensuing development produced two major styles of brownstone: the wavy bowfronts and the more sedate flat-fronts.
Most of the bowfront brownstones boast tall, narrow windows and Mansard roofs. Outside entry normally consists of one flight up to arched double doors and a second flight down to a separate apartment. In contrast, the flat- fronts are Federalist in style with a more-reserved exterior and heavy use of red brick. Many South End blocks exhibit both types of architecture.The Beacon Hill Brownstones
In Beacon Hill's manicured neighborhoods where iconic black shutters make a statement against brown and terra cotta brownstone building fronts, the style of a particular structure often indicates its age. Between 1800 and 1840, such esteemed architects as Asher Benjamin and Charles Bulfinch drew inspiration from Federal and Greek revival styles to create Beacon Hill's distinctive look. Although later architects gravitated toward Italianate, Egyptian revival and Queen Anne styles, Federalist architecture still dominates Beacon Hill's residential section.
Beacon Hill has enjoyed historical status since the 1950s. Therefore, any visible exterior changes, including work on the rooftops, must garner the approval of the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission.The Charlestown Brownstones
Charlestown is Boston's oldest neighborhood. Located slightly north of Boston proper between the Charles and Mystic Rivers, the area has undergone a steady gentrification and now offers some of Boston's most sought-after real estate. Its proximity to the downtown area has made it a favorite of the city's working professionals.
The Sullivan and City Square neighborhoods are home to the majority of Charlestown's brownstones, with those closest to the Navy Yard and Bunker Hill commanding the highest prices. Built during the same period as those in Beacon Hill, these black-shuttered structures grace Charlestown with a comparable colonial atmosphere at what some might consider a more affordable price.
Boston City Properties has 100's of listings of Boston brownstones. This website provides free access to the largest real estate database in the Boston area. Click the magnifying glass above to search 100's of up-to-the-minute apartments & condos in Boston. If you are interested in brownstones only, leave us a note in the "Notes section", and we can adjust the system to send the current list of up-to-the-minute brownstones for sale & rent!