Historic Markers: North End

Civic Service House - 112 Salem St.

Civic Service House, one of several settlement houses in Boston, was founded in 1901 to provide services for local residents and newly-arrived immigrants. In 1905, Frank Parsons, a nationally known social and political reformer, founded the Breadwinners' College here to provide educational opportunities for members. He then founded the Vocational Guidance Bureau here in 1908, offering organized vocational guidance and counseling services to young adults. Parson's initiative was the first systematic process for providing vocational guidance and counseling; it laid the cornerstone for the American counseling movement.

Molasses Flood - Commercial St. near Copp's Hill

On January 15, 1919, a molasses tank at 529 Commercial Street exploded under pressure, killing 21 people. A 40-foot wave of molasses buckled the elevated railroad tracks, crushed buildings and inundated the neighborhood. Structural defects in the tank combined with unseasonably warm temperatures contributed to the disaster.

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Second Church Site - 2 North Square

The Second Church, also called the "Old North Meeting House," was established in 1650 by the Puritans when the First Church in the center of Boston could no longer accommodate the colony's growing population. It was known as the "Church of the Mathers" because both Increase and Cotton Mather preached there. The first building burned in 1673; it was rebuilt the following year and was one of North Square's most important landmarks until the British used it for firewood in the winter of 1775-76. After the Revolution, the congregation joined the nearby "New Brick Church" on Hanover Street.