Boston: A City Overview

Boston is a city that has interested me for quite some time.  Several years ago, my wife and I ventured to New England for our anniversary, and I was able to visit the historic capital of Massachusetts.  As we ventured throughout the city and saw the usual sites, I wondered to myself what this all would've looked like when it was a (comparatively) small city that was home to some of the grandest names in American lore.  As I've indicated before, the study of place is a critical component of my understanding of the study of time: geography helps me know history.  That is the purpose behind the name of this website: Geographist.  And so I began studying the location and reading more about the city.  For those of you who play video or computer games, you may also be familiar with the Fallout franchise - the fourth installment of that series (created by Bethesda Softworks) is set in the greater Boston area and playing through that game did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for it.  So I will share some of the things I've discovered, both through text and images.  Many thanks in advance to the City of Boston (notably their Planning and Development Agency), the Freedom Train Foundation, and the many writers and historians who have helped me develop my own understanding - I will endeavor to give proper credit and links to each source as applicable.

But first, a few facts on Boston:

According to the latest official US Census Bureau data (which is almost a full decade old by the time of this post's writing), Boston boasts a population of 617,594 - barely sneaking into the top 25 cities in the US.  In 1793, however, the 18,320 residents could claim the third largest metropolis in the fledgling nation, behind only New York and Philadelphia.  Originally settled in 1630, the city has expanded greatly from its original 783 acres by means of annexation and landfill (and yes, we'll delve into that topic during some of our future posts).  Remarkably, however, it still boasts the second smallest land area of any major US city at a mere 48.4 square miles.  For those of you doing the math, you'll see that means its population density is nearly 20 people per acre - more than that of Chicago, IL.  Here is how the city as it appears today, and a taste of what we'll explore as the weeks go on:


  1. I love that you can click on the map and expand it to see the details! Great bits of shared data!


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