Back to top

St. Botolph Architectural Conservation District

The Saint Botolph Architectural Conservation District was designated in 1981.

The St. Botolph Architectural Conservation District Commission (SBACDC) meets on the third Tuesday of each month to review proposed exterior design changes and alterations.

Design Review Process

PLEASE NOTE FOR 2017: We now accept applications on a rolling basis. Staff must determine that your application is "complete" fifteen (15) business days prior to the public hearing date for it to be added to an agenda. We cannot add incomplete applications to a public hearing agenda.

All exterior work, including work at rooftops, that is, or will be, visible from any public way (including Southwest Corridor Park) is subject to the review of the SBACDC.  You must submit a Design Approval Application to the Commission and it must be approved by the Commission before beginning any exterior work that is subject to Commission review.

  • To save time and costs, please contact staff early in the planning process to determine project compliance with the standards and criteria.
  • Review all instructions and documentation requirements before submitting your application to ensure it is complete. Only complete applications will be added to a public hearing agenda.
  • Please review all instructions and documentation requirements before submitting your application.
  • Submit your application well in advance of a filing deadline in case it is marked incomplete and additional or revised information needs to be submitted.
  • Staff is not available to review applications for completeness immediately upon submittal.
  • Do not begin any work, or buy materials, until after you have received confirmation you project has been approved.

The St. Botolph area was created in 1857, when public health concerns and a need to accommodate Boston’s growing population led to infill of Boston’s tidal lands.  Development in St. Botolph began c.1881, when the first permits to build residential structures in the area were issued.

By the end of the 1880s, approximately half of the St. Botolph area had been developed.  Of these structures, approximately 90% were designed as single-family residences.  The remaining buildings were situated along the Massachusetts and Huntington Avenue edges of the neighborhood and consisted primarily of four-story, four-family apartment buildings and included such institutional and public buildings as the Elysium Club, the American Legion of Honor, and hotels.  In 1891 a public elementary school was built in St. Botolph, the first yellow brick structure in an area previously dominated by red brick.

The remainder of St. Botolph was developed during the 1890s. The new decade brought a change in predominant building type; while the development that occurred during the 1880s had favored single-family homes, the 1890s were dominated by the construction four-story flats and other multi-family structures.  In addition, the use of lighter colored materials became more prevalent, reflecting the decline in popularity of Victorian styles and the emergence of the more austere Classical Revival style.
St. Botolph was historically home to a population of artists, writers, musicians, and craftspeople. Bela L. Pratt, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Philip Henry Savage are among the artists and writers that are known to have lived and worked there.

Despite its proximity to the Back Bay and South End, a combination of rapid development and the fact that multiple buildings were built by speculators lends St. Botolph an intimacy and visual cohesiveness not found in its larger neighbors.  Elements of the Classical Revival, Georgian Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Queen Anne styles are found throughout the area.

Katie Reed
Boston City Hall, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Email contact