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Administrative Boundaries of Boston and Massachusetts

Guide to resources on wards, towns, counties, metropolitan areas etc.

Annexed Towns

Boston annexed neighboring municipalities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • 1868 - Roxbury
  • 1870 - Dorchester (including Mattapan)
  • 1874 - Brighton (including Allston), Charlestown, West Roxbury (including Jamaica Plain and Roslindale)
  • 1912 - Hyde Park (including Readville)

Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods are smaller geographic communities within which people and places are perceived as having shared social, historical, and cultural characteristics. While the city has official maps of neighborhoods, boundaries tend to be subjective. Neighborhoods do not have official or administrative purposes.

Wards

Wards are administrative divisions within a city for purposes such as voting or public services. They do not correspond to neighborhoods.

Year Boundary Descriptions Map
1715 Distribution of the Town of Boston Into Wards, 1713-1715 1728 - Reproduction of Burgiss map of Boston, 1728
1735 Boston Town Records, 1735 1743 - A new plan of ye great town of Boston in New England in America
1805 Report to the committee of the City Council, 1845 1816 - Map of Boston in the state of Massachusetts
1822 A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908

[1822–1825] - Plan of Boston 

1826 - Plan of Boston comprising a part of Charlestown and Cambridge

  • 1822 wards outlined by dotted lines. Coloring indicates proposed 1832 wards.
1838 A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908 1839 - A new & complete map of the city of Boston, with part of Charlestown, Cambridge & Roxbury
1850 A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908

1851 - Plan of Boston comprising a part of Charlestown and Cambridge

1852 - New map of Boston, comprising the whole city, with the new boundaries of the wards

  • Wards outlined by dotted lines. Coloring and red numbers show fire districts.
1865 A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908 1867 - Plan of Boston
1868 Roxbury annexed and added as wards 13-15 1869 - Plan of Boston, with additions and corrections
1870 Dorchester annexed and added as ward 16 1872 - Map of Boston from the latest surveys
1873 Brighton, Charlestown, and West Roxbury annexed and added as wards 17-22

1874 - Map of the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea, and the town of Brookline with parts of Newton, Malden and Everett

  • also shows wards of surrounding towns
1875 A catalogue of the city councils of Boston, 1822-1908

1875 - Map of Boston showing proposed new division of wards Oct. 1875

  • shows proposed wards; final wards differed slightly

1876 - Map of Boston 1876

1876 Municipal register, 1876
  • Ward 22 divided into wards 22 and 25
1882 - Map of Boston, for 1882
1885 Municipal register, 1886 1886 - Map of Boston showing new division of wards
1886 Municipal register, 1887
  • 1885 ward divisions were ruled illegal and set aside. Wards reverted to 1875 boundaries
1887 - Map of the city of Boston and vicinity
1895 Municipal register, 1896

1895 - Map of the city of Boston and vicinity

1896 - An outline map of Boston showing the old & new ward lines, also the old congressional lines

1912 Municipal register 1912
  • Hyde Park annexed and added as ward 26
1912 - Outline and index map of Ward 26
1914 Municipal register, 1914

1916 - Ward Lines and Voting Precincts

Wards are outlined in the index map in urban atlases of neighborhoods. Wards are differentiated by color and labeled with a black number.

1924 Municipal register, 1925 1927 - Boston and surroundings
Later  

1945 - [Ward Lines and Voting Precincts]

1954 - [Ward Lines and Voting Precincts]

Current   Boston Planning and Development Agency website 

Datasets