Dorchester is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is named after the town of Dorchester, Dorset in the England county of Dorset, from which Puritans emigrated. Dorchester, including a large portion of today’s Boston, was separately incorporated in 1630. History of Dorchester, Massachusetts] It was still a primarily rural town and had a population of 12,000 when annexed to Boston in 1870. Railroad and streetcar lines brought rapid growth, increasing the population to 150,000 by 1920. It is now a large, diverse working class community with many European Americans, African Americans, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and East and Southeast Asian Americans, and is still a center of Irish American immigration.
Dorchester is Boston’s largest and most populous neighborhood. Due to its size of about six square miles, it is often divided for statistical purposes. North Dorchester includes the portion north of Quincy Street, East Street and Freeport Street. South Bay Center and Newmarket industrial area are major sources of employment. The main business district in this part of Dorchester is Uphams Corner, at the intersection of Dudley Street and Columbia Road. The Harbor Point area (formerly known as Columbia Point (Boston)) is also the home of several large employers, including the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Massachusetts Archives, and the John F. Kennedy Library. The southern area of Dorchester is bordered to the east by Dorchester Bay and to the south by the Neponset River.
Dorchester Avenue is the major neighborhood spine, running in a south-north line through all of Dorchester from Lower Mills to downtown Boston. The southern part of Dorchester is primarily a residential area, with established neighborhoods still defined by parishes, and occupied by families for generations. Yet it continues to change, as best observed in the growth of its distinct commercial districts: Bowdoin/Geneva, Fields Corner, Codman Square, Peabody Square, Adams Village and Lower Mills. Other Dorchester neighborhoods include Savin Hill, Jones Hill, Four Corners, Franklin Field, Franklin Hill, Ashmont, Meeting House Hill, Neponset, Popes Hill and Port Norfolk.
The eastern areas of Dorchester (especially between Adams Street and Dorchester Bay) are primarily ethnic European people and Asian people, with a large population of Irish Americans and Vietnamese Americans, while the residents of the western, central and parts of the southern sections of the neighborhood are predominantly African Americans. In Neponset, the southeast corner of the neighborhood, as well as parts of Savin Hill in the north and Cedar Grove in the south, Irish Americans maintain the most visible identity. In the northern section of Dorchester and southwestern section of South Boston is the Polish Triangle, where recent Polish people immigrants are residents. In recent years Dorchester has also seen an influx of young working professionals, gay men, and working artists (in areas like Lower Mills, Peabody Square and Savin Hill).
Savin Hill, as well as Fields Corner, have large Vietnamese American populations. Uphams Corner contains a Cape Verdean American community, the largest concentration of people of Cape Verdean origin within Boston city limits. Western, central and parts of southern Dorchester have a large Caribbean population (especially people from Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago). They are most heavily represented in the Codman Square, Franklin Field and the Ashmont area, although there are also significant numbers in Four Corners and Fields Corner. Significant numbers of African Americans live in the Harbor Point, Uphams Corner, Fields Corner, Four Corners and Franklin Field areas.
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