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brownstones in Boston

Walking Tour of Boston’s Historic Back Bay

Heritage Tour
In Person
August 17, 2024 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET
Curt DiCamillo
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Join architectural historian and American Ancestors Curator of Fine Art Curt DiCamillo for a lively and informative walking tour of one of America’s most historic neighborhoods—Boston’s famous Back Bay!

Built on reclaimed land in the Charles River basin, the filling of the bay began in 1859, when a train carrying gravel arrived every 45 minutes from quarries in nearby Needham to create new land. Completed around 1899, the neighborhood became the most exclusive residential section in Boston (surpassing Beacon Hill). With wide tree-lined streets laid out on a grid, this newfound section of New England’s capital city was influenced by Napoleon III’s grand rebuilding of Paris in the 1860s. Populated by rows of elegant Victorian houses, the Back Bay is today one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century urban design in the United States. 

Focusing on Commonwealth Avenue, we will see some of the finest that the Back Bay has to offer: from Trinity Church, the most praised church in American architectural history, to a remnant of Paris’s destroyed Tuileries Palace, to an example of the long-lost Vanderbilt mansions of New York’s Fifth Avenue. There will be beautiful houses at every turn enhanced by historical and whimsical tales!

Curt DiCamillo
Decorative Arts
Historic Houses
Curt DiCamillo, who joined American Ancestors/NEHGS in February of 2016 as the organization’s first Curator of Special Collections, is an internationally recognized authority on British historic houses and the decorative arts.
Questions? Contact Cy Britt, Director of Heritage Tours
(617) 226-1267