Neponset River at Lower Mills in Dorchester
Location in Boston, Massachusetts
|Incorporated||June 1, 1630|
|Annexed by Boston||January 4, 1870 |
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Zip Codes||02121, 02122, 02124, 02125|
|Area code(s)||617 / 857|
Dorchester is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It is named after the town of Dorchester in the English county of Dorset, from which Puritans emigrated. Dorchester, including a large portion of today's Boston, was separately incorporated in 1630. 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 working class community with many European Americans (and is still a center of Irish American immigration), African Americans, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and East and Southeast Asian Americans. Recently, there has been an influx of young working professionals, gay men, and working artists to the neighborhood, adding to its diversity.
In the summer of 1614, Captain John Smith of the ship Mary and John entered Boston Harbor and landed a boat with eight men on the Dorchester shore, at what was then a narrow peninsula known as Mattapan or Mattaponnock, and today is known as Columbia Point. Those aboard the ship who founded the town included William Phelps, Roger Ludlowe, John Mason, Samuel Maverick, Nicholas Upsall, Henry Wolcott and other men who would become prominent in the founding of a new nation. The original settlement founded in 1630 was at what is now the intersection of Columbia Road and Massachusetts Avenue. (Even though Dorchester was annexed over 100 years ago into the city of Boston, this founding is still celebrated every year on Dorchester Day, which includes festivities and a parade down Dorchester Avenue). Most of the early Dorchester settlers came from the West Country of England, and some from Dorchester, Dorset, where the Rev. John White was chief proponent of a Puritan settlement in the New World. (Rev. John White has been referred to as the unheralded champion of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because despite his heroic efforts on its behalf, he remained in England and never emigrated to the Colony he championed.) The town that was founded was centered around the First Parish Church of Dorchester, which still exists as the Unitarian-Universalist church on Meetinghouse Hill and is the oldest religious organization in present-day Boston.
On October 8, 1633 the first Town Meeting in America was held in Dorchester. Today, each October 8 is celebrated as Town Meeting Day in Massachusetts. Dorchester is the birthplace of the first public elementary school in America, the Mather School, established in 1639. The school still stands as the oldest elementary school in America.
In 1695, a party was dispatched to found the town of Dorchester, South Carolina, which would last barely a half-century before being abandoned.
In 1765, chocolate was first introduced in the United States when Irish chocolate maker John Hannon (or alternatively spelled "Hannan" in some sources) imported beans from the West Indies and refined them in Dorchester, working with Dr. James Baker, an American physician and investor. They soon after opened America's first chocolate mill and factory in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester, and the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory operated until 1965.:627
Before the American Revolution, "The Sons of Liberty met in August 1769 at the Lemuel Robinson Tavern, which stood on the east side of the upper road (Washington St.) near the present Fuller Street. Lemuel Robinson was a representative of the town during the Revolution and was appointed a colonel in the Revolutionary army." Dorchester (in a part of what is now South Boston) was also the site of the Battle of Dorchester Heights in 1776, which eventually resulted in the British evacuating Boston.
In Victorian times, Dorchester became a popular country retreat for Boston elite, and developed into a bedroom community, easily accessible to the city—a streetcar suburb. The mother and grandparents of John F. Kennedy lived in the Ashmont Hill neighborhood while John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald was mayor of Boston.
In 1845, the Old Colony Railroad ran through the area and connected Boston and Plymouth, Massachusetts. The station was originally called Crescent Avenue or Crescent Avenue Depot as an Old Colony Railroad station, then called Columbia until December 1, 1982, and then again changed to JFK/UMASS. It is an MBTA rail line station for both the subway and commuter rail line.
In the 1880s, the calf pasture on Columbia Point was used as a Boston sewer line and pumping station. This large pumping station still stands and in its time was a model for treating sewage and helping to promote cleaner and healthier urban living conditions. It pumped waste to a remote treatment facility on Moon Island in Boston Harbor, and served as a model for other systems worldwide. This system remained in active use and was the Boston Sewer system's headworks, handling all of the city's sewage, until 1968 when a new treatment facility was built on Deer Island. The pumping station is also architecturally significant as a Richardsonian Romanesque designed by the then Boston city architect, George Clough. It is also the only remaining 19th century building on Columbia Point and is in the National Register of Historic Places.
Dorchester was annexed by Boston in pieces, beginning on March 6, 1804 and ending on January 3, 1870, following a plebiscite held in Boston and Dorchester the previous June 22. Dorchester Heights is now considered part of South Boston, not modern-day Dorchester. Additional parts of Dorchester went to Quincy (in 1792, 1814, 1819, and 1855) and the now-annexed town of Hyde Park (1868); the new towns of Milton (1662) and Stoughton (1726) were entirely carved out of Dorchester.
In 1895, Frederick Law Olmstead architect of the Boston Public Garden/Emerald Necklace and Central Park was commissioned to create Dorchester Park, to be an urban forest for the residents of a growing Dorchester.
In 1904, the Dorchester Historical Society incorporated "Dorchester Day" which commemorated the settlement of Dorchester in 1630. An annual event, Dorchester Day is a tableau of community events, highlighted by such activities as the Landing Day Observance, the great Dorchester Day Parade, and as a grand finale, the Community Banquet.
There was also increased social activism in Dorchester during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dorchester became home to the first racially integrated neighborhood on Jones Hill. One of the residents of that neighborhood, William Monroe Trotter, helped to found the Niagara Movement, the precursor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Many leading suffragettes also lived in Dorchester, including Lucy Stone.
In the early 20th century, Dorchester also saw a large flux of new immigrants from origins such as Ireland, French Canada, Poland, Italy, and migrant African Americans from the south during the Great Migration. This is the era when the trademark Dorchester triple decker apartment buildings were built.
The Columbia Point public housing project was completed in 1953 on the Dorchester peninsula. There were 1,502 units in the development on 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land. It was later known for high rates of crime and poor living conditions, and it went through particularly bad times in the 1970s and 80s. By 1988, there were only 350 families living there. In 1984, the city of Boston gave control of it to a private developer, Corcoran-Mullins-Jennison, who re-developed and re-vitalised the property into a beautiful residential mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments which was opened in 1988 and completed by 1990. It is a very significant example of revitalization and redevelopment and was the first federal housing project to be converted to private, mixed-income housing in the USA. Harbor Point has won much acclaim for this transformation, including awards from the Urban Land Institute, the FIABCI Award for International Excellence, and the Rudy Bruner Award.  
In the 1950s, Dorchester was also a center of civil rights activism. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived there for much of the time he attended Boston University for his PhD. "With Boston’s Baptist community riveted by his preaching and Coretta [Scott King] at his side, King’s circle grew. The Dorchester apartment drew friends and followers like a magnet, according to [friend and roommate John] Bustamante, with 'untold numbers of visitors coming from the other schools.' The roommates housed and fed the visitors, who would join in civil rights discussions". 
In the last half of the 20th century, Dorchester had another wave of immigrants, this time from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, Cape Verde, as well as other Latin American, Asian, and African nations. While there was still a large number of new immigrants from traditional countries of origin, such as Ireland and Poland. This made Dorchester more diverse than at any point in its long history, and home to more people from more countries than ever before. These immigrants helped revive economically many areas of the neighborhood by opening ethnic stores and restaurants.
The first community health center in the United States was the Columbia Point Health Center in Dorchester. It was opened in December 1965 and served mostly the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it. It was founded by two medical doctors, Jack Geiger who had been on the faculty of Harvard University then later at Tufts University and Count Gibson from Tufts University. Geiger had previously studied the first community health centers and the principles of Community Oriented Primary Care with Sidney Kark  and colleagues while serving as a medical student in rural Natal, South Africa. The Columbia Point Health Center is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.
In 1977, after an unsuccessful bid to have the John F. Kennedy Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts close to Harvard University, ground was broken at the tip of Columbia Point for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, designed by the architect I. M. Pei, and dedicated on October 20, 1979.
The oldest surviving home in the city of Boston, the James Blake House, is located at Edward Everett Square, a few blocks from the Dorchester Historical Society. Although unconfirmed by radiocarbon dating, its year of construction is conjectured as 1648, 1661 or 1680.
A number of the earliest streets in Dorchester have changed names several times through the centuries, meaning that some names have come and gone. Leavitt Place, for instance, named for one of Dorchester's earliest settlers, eventually became Brook Court and then Brook Avenue Place.
Dorchester is located south of downtown Boston and is surrounded by the neighborhoods of South Boston, Roxbury, Mattapan, South End, and the city of Quincy and town of Milton. The Neponset River separates Dorchester from Quincy and Milton. According to the US Postal Service, Dorchester includes the zip codes 02121, 02122, 02124, and 02125.
Dorchester is Boston's largest and most populous community.  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) is also the home of several large employers, including the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Archives, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 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 and Asian, 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 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, Ashmont Hill/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.
As of 2000 the population of Dorchester was 92,115 and the ethnic makeup was 36% African American or Black, 32% White non-Hispanic, 12% Hispanic or Latino, 11% Asian or Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 4% some other race, 5% two or more races. 
The neighborhood is served by five stations on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red Line (MBTA) rapid transit service, five stations on the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line, commuter rail lines, and various bus routes. Over the last decade, the Dorchester branch of the red line had major renovations, including four rapid transit stations being rebuilt at Savin Hill, Fields Corner, Shawmut, and Ashmont. At Ashmont station, the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts partnered with private investors to create The Carruth, one of the state's first Transit-oriented developments (TOD).
Interstate 93 (which is also Route 3 and U.S. 1) runs north-south through Dorchester between Quincy, Massachusetts and downtown Boston, providing access to the eastern edge of Dorchester at Columbia Road, Morrissey Boulevard (northbound only), Neponset Circle (southbound only), and Granite Avenue (with additional southbound on-ramps at Freeport Street and from Morrissey Blvd at Neponset). Several other state routes traverse the neighborhood (e.g., Route 203, Gallivan Boulevard and Morton Street, and Route 28, Blue Hill Avenue (so named because it leads out of the city to the Blue Hills Reservation). The Neponset River separates Dorchester from Quincy and Milton. The "Dorchester Turnpike" (now "Dorchester Avenue") stretches from Fort Point Channel (now in South Boston) to Lower Mills, and once boasted a horse-drawn streetcar.
Throughout its history, Dorchester has had periods of economic revival and recession. In the 1960s and 1970s, Dorchester was particularly hard hit by economic recession, high unemployment, and white flight.
During the housing crisis of 2008 in the United States, Dorchester's Hendry Street became the epicenter in the media In reaction, the city of Boston negotiated to buy several of the houses for as little as $30,000. It is moving to seize other foreclosed properties on which the owners have not paid taxes. They houses were renovated and added to the inventory of subsidized rental housing.
In 2008, plans and proposals were unveiled and presented to public community hearings by the Corcoran-Jennison Company to redevelop the 30-acre (120,000 m2) Bayside Exposition Center site on the Columbia Point peninsula into a mixed use village of storefronts and residences, called "Bayside on the Point". However, in 2009, the Bayside Expo Center property was lost in a foreclosure on Corcoran-Jennison to a Florida-based real estate firm, LNR/CMAT, who bought it. Soon after, the University of Massachusetts Boston bought the property from them to build future campus facilities.
The corporate headquarters of the Boston Globe is located in Dorchester. In 2009, the New York Times, current owner, put the paper up for bid, leading to concern from local community members, who had seen other major employers close their doors. After negotiations with their union and cost reduction measures, the New York Times abandoned its plan to sell the Boston Globe in October 2009. 
In the 20th century, many of the labor unions in Boston relocated their headquarters to Dorchester. This includes the Boston Teachers Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 718, among others.
Dorchester High School predated the annexation of Dorchester to Boston. At its founding, it was an all male school, first opened on December 10, 1852. In 1870 Dorchester was annexed to Boston and its schools became managed by the City of Boston. A replacement facility opened in Codman Square on Talbot Avenue 1901. The current Dorchester facility opened in 1925 on Peacevale Road to males, while the Talbot Avenue building was for females. In 1953 Dorchester High School consolidated as a coeducational school.
Today, Dorchester houses many of the city's high schools. Dorchester Education Complex (formerly Dorchester High School) is in Dorchester. The schools within the Dorchester complex include the Academy of Public Service, the Edward G. Noonan Business Academy, and TechBoston Academy. In September 2009 the Academy of Public Service and the Noonan Business Academy will merge into the Edward G. Noonan Academy for Business, Public Service and Law. Boston Latin Academy, a 7-12 secondary school and one of the city's three exam schools,  and Jeremiah E. Burke High School, a high school, are also located in Dorchester.
DORCHESTER, a residential and manufacturing district of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., a separate town until 1870, between the Neponset river on the S. and South Boston and Boston proper on the N. It is served by three lines of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway. A ridge, with an average height of about ioo ft. above the sea, extends through the district from N. to S. and commands delightful views of Boston Bay to the E. and of the Blue Hills to the S. There are many large private estates, with beautiful lawns, and Franklin Field and Franklin Park, one of the largest parks of the Boston park system, are in Dorchester. The Shawmut school for girls is in the district. Among the landmarks are the Barnard Capen house, built in the fourth decade of the i 7th century and now probably the second oldest house in New England; and the James Blake house (1648), now the home of the Dorchester Historical Society, which has a library and a museum. Opposite the Blake house formerly stood the house in which Edward Everett was born. Not far away is the old Dorchester burying ground, which dates from 1634; it has many curious epitaphs, and contains the graves of Barnard Capen, who died in 1638 (probably the oldest marked grave in the United States); of William Stoughton (1631-1701), chief justice of the court which tried the Salem "witches" in 1692, lieutenant-governor of the colony from 1692, acting governor in 1694-1699 and 1700-1701, and founder of the original Stoughton Hall, Harvard; and of Richard Mather, pastor of the First Parish church here from 1636 until his death. In Dorchester Maria Susana Cummins (1827-1866) wrote The Lamplighter (1854), one of the most popular novels of its time, and William T. Adams ("Oliver Optic") and Charles Follen Adams ("Yawcob Strauss") did much of their writing; it was long the home of Mrs Lucy Stone (Blackwell). Among the manufactures are cocoa, chocolate, &c. (of the long-established Walter Baker & Co.), paper, crushing and grinding machinery (Sturtevant Mill Co.), chemicals, horseshoe nails, valves, organs and pianos, lumber, automobiles and shoe machinery.
Dorchester was founded by about 140 colonists from Dorsetshire, England, with whom the movement for planting the colony in Massachusetts Bay was begun under the leadership of Rev. John White. They organized as a church while at Plymouth, England, in March 1630, then embarked in the ship "Mary and John," arrived in Boston Bay two weeks before Governor Winthrop with the rest of the fleet, and in June selected Savin Hill (E. of what is now Dorchester Avenue and between Crescent Avenue and Dorchester Bay) as the site for their settlement. At the time the place was known as Mattapanock, but they named it Dorchester. Town affairs were at first managed by the church, but in October 16 3 3 a town government was organized, and the example was followed by the neighbouring settlements; this seems to have been the beginning of the town-meeting form of government in America. Up to this time Dorchester was the largest town in the colony, but dissatisfaction arose with the location (Boston had a better one chiefly on account of the deeper water in its harbour), and in 1635-1637 many of the original settlers removed to the valley of the Connecticut where they planted Windsor. New settlers, however, arrived at Dorchester and in 1639 that town established a school supported by a public tax; this was the first free school in America supported by direct taxation or assessment on the inhabitants of a town.' In October 1695, a few of the inhabitants of Dorchester organized a church and in December removed to South Carolina where they planted another Dorchester (on the N. bank of the Ashley river, about 26 m. from Charleston); by 1752 they had become dissatisfied with their location, which was unhealthy, and they gradually removed to Georgia, where they settled at Medway 1 In 163 5 the general court of the colony of Massachusetts Bay had granted to Dorchester Thompson's Island, situated near the coast of the township. By the township of Dorchester this island was apportioned among the freemen of the township. On the 10th of May 1639 it was ordered that the proprietors of land in this island should collectively pay a "rent of twenty pounds a year forever," this rent "to be paid to such a school-master as shall undertake to teach English, Latin, and other tongues, and also writing," it being "left to the discretion of the elders and the seven men for the time being whether maids shall be taught with the boys or not." In 1642 the proprietors of the island conveyed it to the township "for and toward the maintenance of a free school in Dorchester aforesaid for the instructing and teaching of children and youth in good literature and learning." (half way between the Ogeechee and Altamaha rivers), their settlement soon developing into St John's Parish (see Georgia: History). It was the fortification of Dorchester Heights, under orders from General Washington, on the night of the 4th and 5th of March 1776, that forced the British to evacuate Boston. At one time Dorchester extended from Boston nearly to the Rhode Island line; but its territory was gradually reduced by the creation of new townships and additions to old ones. Dorchester Neck was annexed to Boston in 1804, Thompson's Island in 1834, and the remaining portions in 1855 and 1870.
See W. D. Orcutt, Good Old Dorchester (Cambridge, 1893).