City and State: Roxbury, Massachusetts
Type of district: National Register historic district, state historic district
Main Intersection: 28 Cunard Street
With only 36 buildings, the Lower Roxbury Historic District is notable for its intact historic fabric and its density compared to the immediate surroundings. The multi-block district is characterized by an intact collection of multi-story, turn of the 20th century brick, Revival style, residential and mixed use buildings. Largely architect-designed, the district’s buildings typically are ornamented with Classical Revival detail. Despite this, the buildings are all individual expressions of their style, commonly apartment blocks which vary in shape, size, color, material and the variety of the detail.
These masonry structures replaced earlier frame dwellings during a period of rapid growth and urbanization, including regulation of public safety and health through the use of codes. This renewal was completed in the 1890s, both to improve public safety and also to permit the widening and extension of Columbus Avenue. Most of the buildings are 3- to 5-story apartment buildings constructed of either red, buff, or yellow brick. Those facing onto the major avenues have storefronts on the ground floor, while those on the side streets remain wholly residential.