Tourists, shoppers with deep pockets and residents that enjoy exploring their city stroll along the sidewalks of Newbury Street on a daily basis. Located in the Back Bay, it runs east-to-west from the Boston Public Garden to Massachusetts Avenue. The more expensive shops are located near the Boston Common but they gradually become more urban than chic as you walk toward Mass. Ave. What most people don’t know about this destination area is that it’s origins began under water.
In the mid 1800s, this stretch of street was part of the Boston Harbor. The harbor was slowly filled in to become the Back Bay section of the city, starting in 1857. All of the dirt and fill came from neighboring communities and the crests of what once were Boston’s hilltops. The buildings of Newbury Street were built at relatively the same time and were modeled after European design elements, including grid patterns, parkways and wide boulevards. It was originally a residential neighborhood that was exclusive and very distinguished. The Street’s name is an ode to the victory of the Puritans in the 1643 Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War.
Newbury’s transition from neighborhood to retail destination didn’t happen overnight, but it has been a destination of sorts for many decades. The first retail shop opened in 1905 and is now a haute couture salon, followed by the establishment of the Ritz-Carlton hotel (now the Taj), built in 1927. Over time, more shops were added, art galleries opened and it the stretch of street turned into what it is now. Newbury Street offers a dynamic experience of shopping, culture and flair.