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Homes for Sale in Bay Village, MA

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The narrow, tree lined residential streets with their brick sidewalks and 19th century row houses make Bay Village seem like a place from another time. It is less hectic here than most of metropolitan Boston. All the modern amenities and the superb MBTA transportation network are close by. There is an active Bay Village Neighborhood Association that strives to maintain the quality of life here. Bay Village Boston Homes for sale are a great option for people looking to take up residence in Boston.

About Boston’s Bay Village Neighborhood

Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

Bay Village is a small enclave just north of South End, east of Back Bay, south of Downtown, and west of Chinatown. Of all the official neighborhoods that make up Boston, Bay Village is the smallest. The population is around 2,100. The whole neighborhood covers an area of only 25 acres. To give an idea of this size, consider that it is about the area of nineteen football fields.

Most of the neighborhood falls within the jurisdiction of the Bay Village Historic District Commission. This commission seeks to maintain the 19th century vibe of Bay Village. They strictly control the exterior appearance of the buildings on the streets of the district to preserve their historical appearance. Similar to Back Bay, the original deed requirements defined the construction materials and dimensions of buildings.

The narrow, often one-way streets tend to restrict traffic, resulting in this area experiencing slightly less road noise than the city around it. Many of the people who originally built the brick row houses here were the artisans who built the mansions of Back Bay and Beacon Hill. It is not surprising that they tended to build similar, but more modest, houses for themselves. Most Bay Village Boston homes for sale are within the Bay Village Historic District.


Bay Village’s western end was originally part of the Back Bay tidal flats before the massive landfill project of the 19th century filled in the entire area. What is now Arlington Street was the waterline at that time. The landfill project here predates the larger projects in the South End and Back Bay. Ephraim Marsh, collaborating with Francis Cabot Lowell, developed this landfill project in the 1820’s. Bay Village has gone by various names in the past, including South Cove, Church Street District, and Kerry Village.

Because Bay Village was an earlier project, the later development of the adjacent Back Bay and South End neighborhoods led to a serious problem. The later landfill projects raised their street levels higher than Bay Village, resulting in drainage that flooded this older neighborhood in the 1860’s. The City of Boston undertook the project to rectify the situation by jacking up the streets of Bay Village, along with the 24 stores and 457 houses of the neighborhood. New pilings raised the whole area up to eighteen feet above the sea level, and gravel filled in the gap.

The back yards of the houses, however, received only twelve feet of fill. This resulted in the distinctive “sunken gardens” for which Bay Village is known. An observant visitor will also notice that some of the houses in Bay Village did not receive the raising treatment. In these cases, it is apparent that the first floor is now subterranean, and the second floor is now the first. The tops of the first floor windows of some of the un-raised houses peek up above street level.

Birthplace of Edgar Allen Poe

Bay Village was the birthplace of Edgar Allen Poe, in 1809. His parents were well-known stage actors who lived at 62 Carver Street. The house no longer exists, and Carver Street is now Charles Street South. There has been a colorful debate about the statue of Edgar Allen Poe located near the Boston Common, that it actually should have been located a few blocks south in Bay Village.

The Boston Film Industry

Bay Village became the center for the film industry in Boston in the early 20th century. Columbia Pictures and Paramount built film distribution centers here. At the expense of demolishing many original row houses along Winchester Street, Piedmont Street, and Church Street, large film warehouses in Art Deco style went up. Some of them still exist, converted to use as living space, restaurants, and offices.

During the 1920’s and into the 1930’s, Bay Village became a center for illegal nightclubs, called speakeasies, while Prohibition was in effect. This likely had a connection to the film studios in the neighborhood at the time.

Cocoanut Grove Fire

One of the worst disasters in the history of Boston occurred at 17 Piedmont Street on November 28, 1942. A fire started in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, which claimed 492 lives. The club became popular during Prohibition and it originally had a reputation as a hangout for gangsters. By the time of the fire, the club was even more popular and tended to be crowded beyond legal capacity.

Once the fire took hold, the available exits proved inadequate for all the patrons to escape. The revolving door at the main entrance jammed because of the panicking mob pushing on both sides of it. Inquiries after this disaster lead to many improvements in safety standards and increased inspections, not only in Boston, but also throughout the country. The Revere Hotel now covers much of the original site of the Cocoanut Grove.

Real Estate Market around Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

The median home value in Bay Village is about $1,100,000. Just over half of the residents rent rather than own their homes. Most of the residences here are 19th century brick row houses with granite foundations. They are more modest, thus more affordable, than the grander row houses in Back Bay and Beacon Hill. The residential streets lined with these row houses are narrow, barely two lanes, with trees and brick sidewalks.

Transportation near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

There are no MBTA stations directly in the neighborhood. However, around the periphery there are stations in close proximity to Bay Village Boston homes for sale. To the north are the Arlington and Boylston Stations at the edge of the Boston Commons, to the east is the Tufts Medical Center Station, and to the west is the Back Bay Station near Copley Place. There are bus stops on Arlington Street at Isabella Street and Berkley Street at Chandler Street that serve the number 9 bus line.

Parking is very limited near Bay Village Boston homes for sale. Almost all on-street parking is limited to cars with residential permits. There are about a dozen small commercial parking lots scattered throughout Bay Village.

Education near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

The Boston Public School system has an extensive selection of 125 schools. There are a couple of public schools located in Bay Village:

Josiah Quincy Upper School

Josiah Quincy Upper School is located at 152 Arlington Street. About 500 students in grades eight through twelve attend this school. The student to teacher ratio is 12 to 1. This magnet school offers both AP classes and a Gifted Program. Many of the students go on to attend universities in the Greater Boston area.

Boston Adult Technical Academy

Boston Adult Technical Academy is located at 20 Church Street. This Boston Public School provides a high school education to older students, from 19 to 22 years old, who are motivated to achieve their high school diplomas. About 200 students study here at eleventh and twelfth grade level and the student to teacher ratio is 10 to 1. There are programs available to help English language learners become proficient. Classes include employment skills, computer and technology skills, and writing. Art classes are also available, such as dance, visual arts, music, craft making, and performance arts. Life skill classes include food preparation.

New England Law

New England Law, located at 46 Church Street, is a private law school accredited by the American Bar Association. It also belongs to the Association of American Law Schools. There are about 600 students enrolled, and the faculty numbers about 110. Classes meet in both day and evening sessions. Students enroll in programs that are either full-time or part-time.

There are six concentrations offered: Family Law, Business Law, International Law, Public Interest Law, Litigation, and Small Firm Practice. The two degrees offered are Master of Laws in American Law (LLM) and Juris Doctor (JD). In addition to the two degrees, there are four additional certificate programs in specific areas of expertise: Criminal Practice and Procedure, Compliance and Risk Management, Intellectual Property Law, and Immigration Law.

New England Law originated as The Portia School of Law in 1908. Arthur W. MacLean founded this school as an institution for women who were studying law in preparation for the Massachusetts bar exam. The name Portia is a reference to a main character in The Merchant of Venice, by Shakespeare. Portia was the woman who had to disguise herself as a male lawyer, as the court barred women from such a profession. With stunning success, she argued that court case in Shakespeare’s drama.

The school integrated African-American women in its student body in the early 1900’s. Blanche E. Braxton, from the class of 1921, was the first African-American woman to pass the Massachusetts bar in 1923. Male students gained admission starting the 1930’s. Among the innovative programs New England Law introduced, was a study abroad in nations of the former Soviet Bloc, working with them in developing new legal systems.

Landmarks & Historic Places near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

The Castle

The Castle is located at 130 Columbus Avenue. William Gibbons Preston designed this granite “fortress” in the 1890’s to serve as the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets. The building consists of a large drill hall attached to a four story main building in the shape of a right triangle with a six-story tower at the far end. The entrances of the drill hall are bridged over a dry moat. The Castle appears as though it would easily withstand a medieval assault. During the late 19th century, there was a trend in the United States to build local militia armories in this sort of stone fortress style. The Castle is the last remaining armory of this style in Boston. It is now a venue for special events. It is the most remarkable landmark near Bay Village Boston homes for sale.

The First Corps of Cadets charter dates to 1741. Benjamin Pollard formed this company of volunteer militia to provide a ceremonial escort for the Royal Governor of Massachusetts. Cadets were required to buy their own uniforms and equipment, as well as pay dues for the support of the unit. This limited the membership to men of sufficient means to afford the honor of their service. This also established the higher society social connections of the First Corps of Cadets.

John Hancock and the Revolutionary War

The famous American Revolutionary, John Hancock, was a member of the First Corps of Cadets, and they elected him as their commander in 1774. Despite their duty as ceremonial guards for the royal governor, most of the Cadets were Patriots. In fact, several of them took part in the famous Boston Tea Party. The new governor, Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Gage, dismissed Lieutenant Colonel Hancock from command of the First Corps of Cadets over tensions due to obvious differences of opinion. In response, the Cadets disbanded for the time being.

Once the American Revolution started, a few of the Cadets managed to escape Boston during the siege and join the Colonial troops. After the British withdrew from Boston, the Cadets reestablished themselves as the Independent Company of Cadets. They formed the officer cadre for a new Continental Army regiment, which served in the Rhode Island and New Jersey campaigns.

After the Revolutionary War, in 1786, the veteran Cadets returned to service as the Independent Company of Cadets to be the official bodyguard for the Massachusetts governor. During the Civil War, the Cadets supplied officers for four of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiments. During World War I, they became part of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Isabella Street Park

Isabella Street Park is located at 40 Isabella Street, where Isabella Street branches off from Columbus Avenue. This is a small park with wooden seats, plantings, and trees encircled by a low wrought iron fence. It is a nice little enclave to sit and take a break or eat a sandwich near Bay Village Boston homes for sale.

Bay Village Garden

Bay Village Garden is located at 32 Melrose Street. It is a peaceful, little pocket park. There are a couple of benches, some plantings, a small fountain with a bas-relief face on the back wall, and a tree. It is a restful, cozy spot to sit and enjoy the shade, a little gem near Bay Village Boston homes for sale.

Our Lady of Victories Church

Our Lady of Victories Church, located at 27 Isabella Street, is an elegant brick structure built in French Renaissance style in 1883. New Boston Ventures acquired the building and its rectory for a new development in 2017. The church had been a French Catholic parish run by the Marist Fathers and Brothers. The parish closed in 2016. It is still worth passing by to have a look at this unique historic structure with its fourteen stained glass windows.

Area Attractions & Things to Do around Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

The Bay Village Neighborhood Association

The Bay Village Neighborhood Association is the neighborhood association organized to give residents of Bay Village information of importance, a voice in the city administration, and a social group to bring people together. The Association includes the following committees.

  • Executive Committee – performs the official work of the organization
  • Planning Committee – addresses building and zoning issues
  • Parks and Public Spaces Committee – works on the physical condition and attractiveness of the neighborhood
  • Licensing Committee – addresses city licenses that affect the neighborhood, such as licenses for food and alcohol service
  • Public Safety Committee – works with the Boston Police and other agencies to reduce crime in the neighborhood
  • City Services/Traffic Committee – facilitates municipal services and gets involved with parking and traffic regulations

It is a great thing to have residents band together to improve and maintain this unique neighborhood. People living in Bay Village are encouraged to join in the activities of the Bay Village Neighborhood Association. This organization is a good reason to consider Bay Village Boston homes for sale.


Showroom, located at 240 Stuart Street, is a great resource for contemporary European furniture of exquisite design and superior quality. They have an in-house designer and they will provide installation along with expert guidance. Showroom offers furnishings from Dedon, Gervasoni, Casamilano, Hering Berlin, Poliform, Pietboon, Flexform, Promemoria, and other fine companies. Custom kitchen and closet installations from Poliform are also available. Showroom has received numerous accolades, including Best of Boston Home 2016. They are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturday 11am to 5pm.

Beacon Hill Skate Shop

Beacon Hill Skate Shop is located at 135 Charles Street. Established in 1980, they offer hockey equipment, skateboards, ice skates, longboards, and both inline and roller skates. They also provide servicing and parts. Equipment rentals for skate parties are available. This is the place to come in the Boston area for professional ice skate sharpening. The owner offers beginner lessons in skating, as well. They are open Monday through Friday noon to 6pm, Saturday noon to 5pm, and Sunday noon to 4pm.

Bella Florist

Bella Florist is located at 125 Charles Street South. This small family-run florist shop has served the area for more than twenty years. They offer personalized service, quick delivery of custom orders, and the freshest of flowers. They also handle events, weddings, and corporate accounts. Bella Florist is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm.

Boston Veterinary Clinic

Boston Veterinary Clinic is located at 363 Tremont Street. This is a full-service veterinary hospital with a team of doctors and technicians. They offer cat and dog vaccinations, wellness and preventative care, International Health Certificates for travel abroad, dentistry, senior pet care, and nutritional care. Alternative care is another option they offer, including laser therapy and acupuncture. Boston Veterinary Clinic has on-site surgery, ultrasound, radiography, and lab diagnostics. Microchipping service is available. They are open Monday through Thursday 8:30am to 7pm, Friday 8:30am to 6pm, and Saturday 8:30am to 1pm.

Restaurants near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

BASILE – Fine Italian Kitchen

BASILE – Fine Italian Kitchen is located at 162 Columbus Avenue, right next to The Castle. It offers an up-scale Italian cuisine in a modern, yet elegant and sophisticated setting. The kitchen is open to the dining room, allowing patrons to watch the activity. In nice weather, patrons can enjoy outdoor tables, which can accommodate up to twenty guests.

The menu includes innovative modern interpretations of Italian dishes, as well as beloved classics. Their presentation is exquisite. The pasta is homemade fresh, daily. Gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options are available. There are weekly lunch and dinner special “Dine Out” menus. One of the chef’s specialties is BASILE Crabmeat Ravioli. The homemade ravioli are stuffed with a filling of crabmeat and Mascarpone cheese, served with sautéed shrimp and topped with a creamy white wine and cherry tomato sauce.

Parties of two or more can enjoy the ultimate indulgence – a five course tasting dinner curated by the Chef! Lunches are no less exquisite, featuring sophisticated pasta dishes along with soups, salads, and sandwiches. There is a full bar, and BASILE features its own, curated, house wines. They are open Monday through Saturday, noon to 3pm for lunch and 5pm to 11pm for dinner. Valet parking is available, for a fee, Thursday through Saturday. There is no required dress code. BASILE is available for private events and special functions.

Mike & Patty’s

Mike & Patty’s, is located at 12 Church Street at the corner of Fayette Street. This tiny corner café is primarily a take-out, but there are a handful of counter seats along one of the front windows. As unpretentious as this establishment may appear, it is one of the premier sandwich shops of Boston, one of the absolute gems near Bay Village Boston homes for sale. They have been making both breakfast and lunch sandwiches since 2008.

Foursquare has featured them for making the “Highest Rated Breakfast Sandwich in the USA”! They proudly proclaim themselves the home of the Fancy, which is two fried eggs, cheddar cheese, red onions, bacon, avocado, and house made mayo on multigrain bread from Iggy’s Bakery. Mike & Patty’s is open Monday and Tuesday 8am to 2pm, Wednesday through Friday 7:30am to 2pm, and Saturday and Sunday 7:30am to 2:30pm. Online ordering is available and Grubhub makes deliveries.

Notable Buildings near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

1 Bay Street is a freestanding, Federal-style house with a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Benjamin Bosworth built this house in 1830. It is made of brick, 2.5 stories tall, with a brick foundation. This two-bedroom house is only twenty feet wide and sits on a lot that is 650 square feet. The house is 1440 square feet, and has its own private garden, accessed through the kitchen. There are few such freestanding historical houses in Boston.

What it is Like to Live near Bay Village Boston Homes for Sale

The narrow, tree lined residential streets with their brick sidewalks and 19th century row houses make Bay Village seem like a place from another time. It is less hectic here than most of metropolitan Boston. All the modern amenities and the superb MBTA transportation network are close by. There is an active Bay Village Neighborhood Association that strives to maintain the quality of life here. Bay Village Boston Homes for sale are a great option for people looking to take up residence in Boston.

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