Homes for Sale in Beacon Hill, MA

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Beacon Hill is the place most people picture when they think of an iconic neighborhood in historic Boston. Beacon Hill homes for sale are among the most desirable in the city. The tree-lined, narrow streets are home to the neighborhood’s iconic 19th century brick townhouses, which make up most of this part of Boston. The shopping district is located along Charles Street at the western end of the neighborhood, mostly in 19th century buildings originally designed for commercial operations on the ground floor. Beacon Hill only covers 105 acres, but it seems like a separate world from the modern, metropolitan city in which it is located.

About Boston’s Beacon Hill Neighborhood

Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Beacon Hill is the place most people picture when they think of an iconic neighborhood in historic Boston. Beacon Hill homes for sale are among the most desirable in the city. The tree-lined, narrow streets are home to the neighborhood’s iconic 19th century brick townhouses, which make up most of this part of Boston. The shopping district is located along Charles Street at the western end of the neighborhood, mostly in 19th century buildings originally designed for commercial operations on the ground floor. Beacon Hill only covers 105 acres, but it seems like a separate world from the modern, metropolitan city in which it is located.

The historic Massachusetts State House and the associated complex of state office buildings dominate the eastern edge of Beacon Hill, buffering its historic residential streets from metropolitan Downtown Boston. To the south, across Beacon Street, are the open green spaces of Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. Cambridge Street, to the north, forms the boundary with the West End. The Charles River borders Beacon Hill to the west. The population of Beacon Hill is around 9,500.

History

William Blaxton (also referred to as William Blackstone) was the first English settler on the Shawmut Peninsula. He built a house and established an orchard on Beacon Hill’s southern slope in 1625, five years before Massachusetts Bay Company founded Boston in 1630. In fact, it was he that invited them to settle there after their earlier attempts nearby proved unsatisfactory. Beacon Hill was named for the fire beacon established on the hilltop in 1634 to help ships locate the settlement. From the early 17th century through the late 18th century, this area held some country estates, but was mostly orchard and pastureland. During this period, the North Slope, down to the docks on the Charles River, became infamous for taverns and “houses of ill repute” that catered to sailors, soldiers, and other rowdy characters.

The construction of the New State House at 24 Beacon Street ushered in a new period of Beacon Hill’s development. Harrison Gray Otis formed The Mount Vernon Proprietors, a wealthy association of well-established Bostonians in 1795 to develop land on Beacon Hill’s south slope near the New State House. The architect of the New State House, the famous Charles Bulfinch, joined the association along with a number of other prominent Bostonians. They successfully designed the new Beacon Hill development as an upscale area to attract a wealthy clientele; they bought land, laid out streets, and built new mansions on speculation. To make efficient use of the land, they constructed row houses, thus creating the hallmark architecture of Beacon Hill. Most of the brick row houses defining Beacon Hill were built during this development period through the 19th century.

Architecture Preservation

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission strictly maintains the traditional character of the Historic Beacon Hill District. All plans for reconstruction, alteration, demolition, or additional construction must have the Commission’s Certificate of Appropriateness. The emphasis is on maintaining the historical appearance of the neighborhood as a whole. All Beacon Hill homes for sale must adhere to these standards.

Real Estate

Most of the Beacon Hill homes for sale range between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. The most desirable mansions rarely come on the market. In 2015, the pristine mansion at 13 Louisburg Square sold for $10,800,000. It had thirteen rooms and totaled over 5,500 square feet.

Transportation near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

MBTA stations are located just across the streets that form the boundaries of Beacon Hill to the northwest, the east, and the southeast. Bus stops are likewise located at the northeast, southern, and southeast edges of Beacon Hill. They are close and easily accessible from Beacon Hill homes for sale.

Street parking is limited, and it only available to residents. Beacon Hill homes for sale with integrated parking facilities are desirable. Monthly parking rates are available at various facilities in Beacon Hill. The Charles Street Garage at 144 Charles Street sells deeded parking spaces.

Education

UMass Center on Beacon Hill is located at One Beacon Street. University of Massachusetts offers higher education courses to working professionals here. There is a range of academic programs available in this satellite facility.

Suffolk University is located at 8 Ashburton Place in the eastern end of Beacon Hill. This university offers a range of graduate, undergraduate, and law degree programs. On-line, evening, and part-time classes are available, as well. Suffolk University focuses on liberal arts, law, and business degrees. There are nearly 5,000 undergraduate students and nearly 1,200 graduate students. Suffolk University offers over nine hundred courses in over seventy programs. There is a campus in Madrid, Spain, and students can study abroad in twenty-five countries.

The Advent School is a private institution located at 15 Brimmer Street. It serves students from pre-school through 6th grade. The student to teacher ratio is 5 to 1. The Advent School uses the Reggio Emilia approach for primary and pre-school education. The principles of responsibility, community, and respect are emphasized in an experiential, self-directed environment. An after-school program is available, as well as a summer program.

Park Street School is located at 67 Brimmer Street. It is a Christian faith-based private school serving toddler through 6th grade students. The elementary school program averages a 9 to 1 student to teacher ratio. They offer 15 after school activities and clubs. A school uniform is required for students in the elementary school program.

Beacon Hill Nursery School is located at 74 Joy Street. It has junior kindergarten, pre-school, and toddler programs. Both early drop-off and extended day services are available. There is also a summer program.

Landmarks & Historic Places near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Massachusetts State House

Located at 24 Beacon Street, the Massachusetts State House still serves as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state capitol building. The Governor of Massachusetts has his offices here, and this is where the Massachusetts General Court, the state legislature, meets. This building is one of the masterpieces of Charles Bulfinch, the famous American architect. A fine example of Federal Architecture, Massachusetts State House is a National Historic Landmark. Paul Revere, as the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, led the Masonic ceremony, which laid the cornerstone of the building on July 4, 1795. The building construction completed in January 1798.

Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History is located at 46 Joy Street. It is the largest New England museum displaying artifacts and exhibits chronicling the history and contributions of free African American people since the Colonial Period. The campus includes two adjacent buildings. The African Meeting House is part of the Boston African American Historic Site.
The adjacent Abiel Smith School houses the museum’s exhibits and educational programs. The City of Boston built the Abiel Smith School between 1834 and 1835 to accommodate the African School, following the long and resolute campaign of African American Bostonians to have a place for their children within the public school system of Boston. The building served this purpose until 1855, when legislation passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature required the end of school segregation. Abiel Smith School is a National Historic Landmark.

Park Street Church

The Park Street Church, located at 1 Park Street, where Tremont and Park Streets meet, had the distinction of being the country’s tallest building until 1828. Completed in 1809, the steeple was 217 feet tall. It was the dominating feature of the Boston skyline. The Trinitarian Evangelical Congregation built the church on the site of the Old Granary, a landmark public storage building, built in 1729 that fell into disrepair. During the War of 1812, gunpowder was stored in the basement of Park Street Church. William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first abolitionist sermon here in 1829.

Granary Burying Ground

The Granary Burying Ground is located on Tremont Street, adjacent to Park Street Church, and was in use since 1660. Its name came from the Old Granary that used to be adjacent. Among the people buried here, are five victims of the infamous Boston Massacre, as well as Peter Faneuil, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis, and Robert Treat Paine.

The Phillips School

The Phillips School is located at the corner of Anderson and Pinckney Streets. Established in 1825, it was originally the English High School. In 1844, it became the Philips Grammar School, and had the reputation as one of Boston’s best schools. The students were mostly from wealthy families residing in Beacon Hill. Typically, for that time, enrollment was only open to white male children. The school eventually admitted girls, and in 1855, Philips School admitted African American children per Massachusetts State law. Currently Philips School is a private residence.

Nichols House Museum

The Nichols House Museum is located at 55 Mount Vernon Street. This townhouse was built in 1804, part of the early development of Beacon Hill. In 1961, it became a museum and opened to the public. The unique aspect of Nichols House Museum is that it displays the furnishings of the house, as they were when the Nichols family was still in residence in the start of the 20th century. The house’s service wing, as well as the woodshed, is still as they were at that time. This is currently a rarity in Beacon Hill.

George Middleton House

George Middleton House is located at 5 Pinckney Street. It was built in 1787, making it the oldest surviving home in Beacon Hill. Made of wood with clapboards, it stands out among the relatively newer brick row houses around it. George Middleton was prominent in the African American community and served as a colonel in the Revolutionary War, leading a black militia company. The Massachusetts Historical Society preserves the unit flag presented to them by John Hancock. George Middleton House is not open to the public; it is currently a private residence.

William Hickling Prescott House

William Hickling Prescott House is located at 55 Beacon Street. This National Historic Landmark is a museum run by the Colonial Dames of America, Massachusetts Chapter. Asher Benjamin, the architect who greatly influenced American municipal architecture prior to the Civil War, designed this twin house, built in 1808, for the leading Boston merchant, James Smith Colburn. William Hickling Prescott was in residence here from 1845 to 1859. He was one of the most famous American historians of the 19th century. He wrote extensively about Spanish history and the Spanish conquest of its colonies in the Americas. The house is open for tours from mid-April through October, and it is available for catered events.

The Vilna Shul

The Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture is located at 18 Phillips Street. It was built in 1919 as an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue. This unassuming building is Boston’s last remaining synagogue built by early 20th century immigrants. Following renovations, Vilna Shul will open for tours again in spring 2020. It serves as a cultural center and community resource.

Louisburg Square

Louisburg Square is located a couple of blocks east of the Charles Street shopping district, between Mount Vernon Street and Pinckney Street. Between the two lanes of the street is a wide, block-long private greenspace surrounded by a fence of wrought iron. While the lanes of the street and the sidewalks are public, the private park within is locked and available only to residents of the row houses that line this street. The sidewalks are brick and paving stones line the street lanes.

The trees of the park shade the street, making Louisburg Square a lovely, tranquil place to admire the historic architecture of this exclusive enclave. Two statues balance the ends of the park. At one end is a statute of Christopher Columbus gazing off into the distance. The statue at the other end is of Aristides the Just, an Athenian statesman of the early classical period. In his Histories, the historian Herodotus lauded Aristides as “the best and most honorable man in Athens”. A wealthy Greek merchant who lived at Louisburg Square during the 1850’s donated the statues.

A number of famous, even celebrated, people have lived at Louisville Square. Charles Bulfinch, the famous architect of the Massachusetts State House, was an early resident. The author Louisa May Alcott lived here, as did the literary critic, playwright, and author William Dean Howells. More recently, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch lived here, and former Secretary of State John Kerry owns one of the townhouses.

Scarlett O’Hara House

Scarlett O’Hara House, located at Rollins Place, is not actually a real building. It is a two story, very detailed painting, that gives the illusion of being a real house. To help maintain the trick, there are well-maintained, real flower boxes in front of the “porch”, and someone hangs a Christmas wreath in season.

Boston Athenæum

Boston Athenæum is a private library located at 10½ Beacon Street and is one of America’s oldest. The library conducts guided tours for the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. In addition to its historic collection of rare books and manuscripts, Boston Athenæum is also an art museum. While this remarkable collection includes paintings and sculptures by European masters, most of the works on display are by American artists. There are almost 600 paintings and sculptures displayed here, making this a collection of both artistic and historical significance.

Boston Athenæum contains an amazing collection of rare and unique books, documents, prints, and photographs. There are personal records and papers of famous families, prominent American historical figures, ship’s logs, and business records. The Rare Book Collection contains many works of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and even some older works of the 15th and 16th century, most of which are unavailable from any public library. The collection numbers over 480,000 volumes, which are available to library members. This is truly a unique historical collection.

Social and cultural events, as well as lectures and exhibitions are available to members. For people who are interested in history, art, academics, and culture, membership in the Boston Athenæum presents a unique and enriching opportunity. This is a good reason for academically inclined buyers to be considering Beacon Hill homes for sale.

Area Attractions near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Acorn Street is a narrow lane between Willow Street and West Cedar Street. It is like going back to the early 19th century to stroll through here. The original cobblestones still pave the street, and the narrow brick sidewalks have stone curbs. There are neat brick buildings in a continuous row on either side of the lane that give Acorn Street the cozy feeling of a comfortable past. When this street was first developed, the trades people and coachmen who worked for the wealthy owners of the nearby mansions made their homes here. Now, this picturesque lane is the “most frequently photographed street in the United States”, admired by tourists, and the backdrop of more than a few romantic wedding proposals. When Beacon Hill homes for sale are available here, they command significant prices.

Cheers is located at 84 Beacon Street. Originally named the Bull & Finch Pub, this establishment inspired the popular TV, Cheers. Fans of the show can enjoy food and drink in this nostalgic setting. In 1982, Boston Magazine chose Bull & Finch Pub as its choice for “Best Neighborhood Bar” in Boston.

Things to Do near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Both locals and tourists enjoy strolling around Beacon Hill to see the landmarks and take in the ambiance of this lovely neighborhood. For shopping, especially for antiques, Charles Street is a popular destination. Right next to Beacon Hill are the great park spaces of the Boston Public Garden, the Charles River Esplanade, and the Boston Commons. From any Beacon Hill home, there is easy accessibility to a wide range of noteworthy pubs and restaurants. One should consider these amenities when looking for Beacon Hill homes for sale.

What It’s Like to Live near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Residents of Beacon Hill consider it a peaceful place to live compared to the city around it. Beacon Hill is close to all the activities, sights, and amenities of Boston. ‘T’ stations are close by, and with them, all of the greater Boston area becomes accessible. The elegant, historic ambience of a bygone era helps make Beacon Hill homes for sale more desirable.

A Sampling of the Pubs and Restaurants near Beacon Hill Homes for Sale

Grotto

Grotto is located at 37 Bowdoin Street. A cozy and romantic restaurant, it offers top-notch Italian cuisine. The vibe and dress code are casual. It is best to make a reservation. Lunch is served Monday to Friday from 11:30am to 3pm. Dinner is served every day from 5pm to 10pm. Private events can be arranged.

21st Amendment

21st Amendment is located at 150 Bowdoin Street. The name is a reference to the federal legislation that ended Prohibition. They offer pub food, drinks, and beer, taking the concept of a neighborhood bar to a higher level. The atmosphere is certainly that of a friendly old pub, and both the food and staff earn rave reviews from their patrons. They offer wood grilled tavern pizza, specialty sandwiches, and of course burgers. Private events can be catered in the pub or off-site. They are open 11:30am to 2am every day.

Red Hat

Red Hat, located at 9 Bowdoin Street, has been operating since 1907. By posing as a reputable restaurant by day, and operating as a speakeasy at night, they were able to maintain their business during Prohibition. They are open every day except Sunday from 11am to 2am. On Sundays, they open noon to midnight. This is a fun, informal pub, offering good, basic pub and comfort food. This popular spot has earned the loyalty of many local patrons.

Mooo….

Mooo…. Is located at 15 Beacon Street. This is a modern steak house with business casual dress code and a casual elegant vibe. While it may seem pricy, the high quality steaks and seafood are extremely well prepared. They are open 7am during the week and serve a highly rated breakfast, probably because of affiliation with the XV Beacon Hotel next door. Virtually universal five star reviews are written by their patrons.

Toscano

Toscano is located at 47 Charles Street. This premier restaurant has been long established as offering remarkably well prepared Tuscan cuisine. Zagat cites Toscano as “reliably excellent”. The dress code is smart casual and the vibe is casual elegant. The cuisine here receives rave reviews. They offer an extensive Italian wine list, and are open 11:30am to 10pm daily.

Tip Tap Room

Tip Tap Room, located at 138 Cambridge Street, is a modern pub offering an extensive selection of draught craft beers and a wonderfully upscale pub menu. Their take on pub food is sophisticated. Examples include chicken wings with Tunisian harissa, charred lemon, and fresh mint; wild mushroom ravioli with toasted pine nuts and pumpkin cream aioli; braised wild boar and gnocchi with roasted garlic; and lamb tips with minted lamb glace, goat cheese potatoes, tzatziki, shallots, and mint. Every dish has unique components and spicing.

Ma Maison

Ma Maison, located at 272 Cambridge Street, offers authentic French cuisine in a casual, comfortable setting. Their boutique wine list is enhanced by a special collection of vintage wines for patrons who would like to commemorate a special event. Eggs and sophisticated sandwiches are available for lunch. Fine entrees and specialties du jour are served for both dinner and lunch. Patrons write rave reviews about their meals here. Desserts are likewise noteworthy. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm.

A Sampling of the Unique Stores near Beacon Hill homes for sale

Upstairs Downstairs Antiques

Upstairs Downstairs Antiques is located at 93 Charles Street. The furniture in their five display rooms spans three centuries and many styles. They offer new artwork and home furnishings by local artists, along with the antique pieces. The displays are frequently changed, so it is worth coming back to have a look at what is “new”. They are open Sunday through Friday 11am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 6pm.

Marika’s Antique Shop

Marika’s Antique Shop is located at 130 Charles Street. It is one of the oldest established antique stores in Beacon Hill. A multigenerational family operation, they are known for excellent, honest, and knowledgeable service. They have an extensive collection of vintage and estate jewelry that spans a wide array of prices. This store is a real “gem”. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am to 6pm.

Elegant Findings Antiques

Elegant Findings Antiques is located at 89 Charles Street. They specialize in crystal stemware and antique porcelain of the finest quality, and their collection is extensive. They also carry antique decorative home furnishings and unique furniture. They will search for specific antique pieces on request. Elegant Findings Antiques is open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 5pm, and Saturday from noon to 6pm.

Devonia Antiques

Devonia Antiques is located at 15 Charles Street. They specialize in ornate dishes and stemware from the Gilded Age, around the turn of the 20th century. They will match heirloom pieces to complete entire sets. They have an extensive collection of fine bone china from the 1880’s through the 1920’s. Their hours are 10am to 4pm on Thursday and Friday, 11am to 5pm on Monday and Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday.

Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill

Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill is located at 46 Charles Street. It is an eclectic gift store offering Caspari printed paper goods, unique gifts, jewelry, Boston mementos, and books written by local authors. They are open Monday through Wednesday and Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm, Thursday 10am to 7pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm.

Homes for Sale in Nearby Neighborhoods and Towns