Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dot Islands

A tip of the fedora to Dotmass for providing this fun fact: the Lydia Clapp House at 6 Percival Street was the first dwelling to be renovated on the television program 'This Old House." If you caught that episode, you may remember the neighborhood, right next to Saint Peter's Church on Meetinghouse Hill, in Dorchester.

The hammers didn't stop swinging when the TV crew pulled out in 1979. Like any thriving neighborhood, Dorchester is in a permanent state of perennial renewal. Some streets are a tad more down-and-out than others but this provides the neighborhood carpenters, roofers, electricians and whatnot with steady paychecks. A day doesn't start in Dorchester without the whine of power tools modernizing the local architecture. It's no wonder all the major construction unions make their headquarters in the Dot, it's not only where they live, it's where there bread is buttered.

One particle of proof is Mount Bowdoin, between Meeting House Hill and Upham's Corner. Take a turn off Hancock Street past Cataloni's bar and you will enter another world. The 'mountain' is covered with beautifully maintained homes, some of them one family, some of them mansions with breathtaking views that have been subdivided into condominiums. The old Saint Margaret's Hospital is there. It is still run by Caritas Christi as a center for women, though what they use the building for exactly is beyond the scope of my investigations, not being a woman.

All in all, Mount Bowdoin is a tidy oasis with reasonable accomodations and nearby amenities. If you are thinking of moving to Dorchester, this is a neighborhood to investigate. Like many things in Dorchester, it is hidden from easy view, a secret.

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