History

Want to know more about the history of the CNA and some of our landmarks? See below!

The Lion Statue: This proud, life-size lion was carved from a single block of granite in 1872 to guard the home of Dr. Orren Strong Sanders at 511 Columbus Avenue. Dr. Sanders was one of the founders of the Home for Little Wanderers, now New England Home for Little Wanderers, a charity that still exists today. NEHLW was founded in 1865 to care for children who had been orphaned or left homeless by the Civil War. Its first home was at 202 West Newton Street, where Union United Methodist Church now stands.
The Jazz Scene: Massachusetts Avenue between Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street served as the Jazz Hotspot in the city in the 1940’s and 50’s. Still active today is Wally’s Café 427 Massachusetts Avenue, hosting daily live jazz concerts . Darryl’s Corner Bar 604 Columbus Ave. at Northampton Street, also delights with nightly entertainment. Read more about our City’s rich Jazz history here.
Union United Method Church: Located at the corner of Columbus Avenue between West Rutland Square and West Newton Street, the church building was designed by Alexander R. Estey in an English Gothic style, and built between 1870 and 1875. The current congregation moved there in 1949, and is the oldest church that worships in the African American tradition of celebration in the New England Conference. www.unionboston.org This beautiful church is also a movie star; the outside shots of John and Lori’s wedding in the movie Ted were filmed at the church.
United South End Settlements (USES) and the Harriet Tubman House: In 1959, USES built the modern Harriet Tubman House at 566 Columbus Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and West Springfield Street on the former site of the Hi-Hat, one of Boston’s notable jazz clubs. USES’ mission is to act as a catalyst “to bring together the resources of individuals, the community, and the agency to promote the well-being of those at risk within the community, and to nurture personal and communal growth and development.”
The Harriet Tubman House was first created in 1904 by the Harriet Tubman Crusaders, an African American branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Boston, as a residence on Holyoke Street for African American women who were excluded from the city’s college dormitories and respectable rooming houses. The Harriet Tubman House merged with other settlement houses in the South End to form USES.
The Southwest Corridor Park: As part of the Urban Renewal Plan in the mid-1960s, a 12-lane highway along the railroad right-of-way between Boston and Rte. 128, and on into Cambridge was planned. The residents of the affected areas, including Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South End, Back Bay, and Cambridge, protested against the destruction of their neighborhoods by the planned highway. In the South End, a four-lane highway was to be constructed, called the South End Bypass, to be the off-ramp from Interstate 95 South. It was expected to bring 40,000 cars a day onto West Newton and Dartmouth Streets. Through strong neighborhood opposition, the battle against the South End Bypass ended in 1972 when construction plans were cancelled. Instead, the Orange Line MBTA was moved from Washington Street, the Amtrak lines were relocated and rebuilt, and the railroad tracks were submerged to build the Southwest Corridor Park. What almost became a highway is now a 4.7 mile, 50 acre linear park that stretches from Back Bay Station in Boston to Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain. Urban gardeners tend to the green spaces and gardens in the CNA neighborhood, including the Rose Garden at the north end of Wellington Street and the Butterfly Garden at Massachusetts Avenue. The Corridor provides a respite for residents, and is a favorite walking path for dogs and their owners.
Titus Sparrow Park: Rising from the dust created by the demolition of two rows of houses on West Rutland Square and West Newton Street under the Urban Renewal Plan, Titus Sparrow Park was designed by all four surrounding neighborhoods (Claremont, Cosmopolitan, St. Botolph, and Pilot Block) and the Union United Methodist Church as a place that would be restful while also including spaces for activity, such as the sledding hill in winter and the basketball and tennis courts in warmer weather. Dedicated to Titus Sparrow, a local resident of Durham Street and tennis activist, the Park opened in June 1976 and was updated in 2005. The Park is a green oasis, with popular summer concerts and children’s music programs.