North Street

Here are some old photos of North Street also known as the Combat Zone also the place where the Old Red Light District was.

It was first named in 1852, and consists of segments of streets formerly named Ann, Fish, Ship, Drawbridge, and Conduit Streets. Ann Street, also known as the “Black Sea”, was an infamous neighborhood in the 19th century. The main street and its side alleys formed a red-light district where brothels, inns, “jilt shops”, and tavern could be segregated from the rest of the city.Over half of Boston’s brothels were located there. The establishments in the area relied heavily on custom from sailors, who had weighed anchor at Dock Square nearby, and working men, who used the taverns as meeting places in the winter. The area was one of the few places in Boston where African Americans and whites intermingled.

The first photo below is a detail of 1814 map of Boston, showing Ann St. and vicinity.

The second photo is North Street, looking up from North Square, ca.1894.

The third photo is North Street, Boston, 1949.

The fourth photo is Ann Street, Boston, 1881.


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