About Fort Hill
Fort Hill, Roxbury, has been an important focus of Boston’s political, social, and architectural history for nearly 400 years. The Hill’s long tradition of diversity makes it a welcoming community for artists, architects and activists.
Fort Hill was named for the Revolutionary War fort that was once at its summit, now the site of a park. William Dawes saw the lantern hung in the Old North Church from the Fort Hill Meeting House before beginning his historic ride to Lexington and Concord.
Before the Civil War, Roxbury was an independent town of small farms and country estates. But after the war, it became part of Boston and evolved into a fashionable suburb.
Fort Hill was the home of such eminent Bostonians as abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and the liberal theologian and author, Edward Everett Hale. The Garrison and Hale homes are among the many elegant mansions still standing on Fort Hill. Surviving on Fort Hill are excellent examples of Federal, Greek Revival, Art Deco, Georgian, Second Empire, Gothic, Gothic Revival, and Italianate styles.
Fort Hill also played an important role in the development of the graphic arts in America. Still standing on Fort Hill are the home and factory of Louis Prang. (Prang’s factory has now been converted to housing.) Prang developed a four-color printing process known as chromolithography in the 1860′s. Prang’s system was the first workable system to reproduce color in print. He also developed the Prang (or artist’s) color wheel and is acknowledged as the inventor of the Christmas Card.
While Fort Hill fell into hard times during the 20th century, the area has come back. Its former elegance has been restored, but excess gentrification has been avoided. Fort Hill remains both affordable and diverse.
To the right are the Eliot Church (Boston’s oldest wood frame church), the Cox building (originally stores, private residences, and hotel rooms) and the Fort Hill Tower.