Ciera Yates

The Mary and John, on which Dorchester's settlers arrived on around June 1, 1630

Dorchester, currently a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts was once one of the most prominent cities in the Massachusetts Bay colony. It was primarily a rural farming community until it was annexed to Boston in 1870 (Dorchester Atheneum). At this point, the population exploded and the city became successful in several industries. It was once even the home of the country's only paper mill, powder mill, cracker manufactory, chocolate mill, and playing card manufactory. Ship construction, nail production, and fruit production were notable industries within the city, as well. Dorchester also made its impact culturally. It took part in many of the country's major historical events of the time, including the Salem Witch Trials, the King Phillip War, the French and Indian War, and Shay's Rebellion (My Dorchester). It was additionally the first town to put taxes towards schools. This brought about the nation's first public elementary school. Today, Dorchester is primarily a working class city ("Dorchester, Boston"). It is noted for its racial and cultural diversity.

Works Cited
"A Brief History of Dorchester." My Dorchester . N.p., 2009. Web. 8 Jan. 2013.
"Dorchester, Boston." Wikipedia. N.p., 4 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 Jan. 2013.
"Dorchester MA, Town History 1630-1870." Dorchester Atheneum. N.p., 17 Aug. 2003. Web. 8 Jan. 2013.


Ashlee Riehl

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Dorchester is one of the oldest neighborhoods, dating back to the original Massachusetts Bay colony in 1630. Today, it is the largest part of Boston and is the most populated area in the city. This city has become a hub for diversity based on its history for immigrants. At its origins, Dorchester was an area for English Protestants to come in order to escape religious and eventually an ideal place for the Irish and other immigrants to land. This history of diversity has created Dorchester to have an appeal for people of all nationalities and beliefs. The city is populated with African Americans, Irish Americans, and people from the Caribbean and Asia. This diverse population has caused the main audience, so to speak, for Dorchester to be almost anyone. The population is also diverse in the fact that art and culture has highly influenced the area. Cultures from all different nationalities have converged in this area, making it very applicable for working artists, who have also become more common in the area. This society has also invited in a great deal of young professionals, and gays. This vast array of people has made Dorchester a modern hub that can appeal to all audiences due to its immense culture that envelopes those from all around the world.

Works Cited
"A Brief History of Dorchester."My Dorchester. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.
"Cityofboston.gov - Official Web Site of the City of Boston - Thomas M. Menino, Mayor."Dorchester. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.
“Dorchester."Boston.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.


A.J. Steuer

'Dorchester Day' parades like this one in 1967 celebrate the original settlement of the town. These events bring tens of thousands to the streets in what also happens to be a celebration of community.

Throughout America’s history, communities like Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts have borne witness to many of the events that would come to define a nation. Once an incorporated place of its own, “Dot,” as residents often refer to it as, officially became part of Boston in 1869. By that time, many of the strong cultural roots of the area had already formed. In time, these early beginnings would come to shape the community even further. “The existing church records [of Dorchester] commence with the Covenant adopted at the settlement of Mr. Mather, August 23, 1656,” and by this time, Dorchester had already been settled for nearly three decades (Clapp iv). The significance of this lies in the background established in the neighborhood by centuries of Irish and West English settlement in the area. Not long after the foundation of the town, it became clear that community was very important to the residents of Dorchester. Though small, the community “was the first in organizing the New England town government, choosing twelve men in 1633 as selectmen or townsmen” (Taylor). This spirit of interpersonal relations has stood for almost four centuries as one of the defining parts of Dot. In every way, Dorchester is a place for all comers.

Today, Dot’s rich history and extensive diversity continue to make it a notable community for experts and laymen alike. Despite the attraction, Dorchester has faced many of the problems that seem all too common in large cities today. Gang violence, poverty, and wear to infrastructure have all crept into the public scene there. Residents, though wary of these declines, have held fast against negative change. Despite town institutions like Dorchester’s skating rink becoming hotbeds of activity for young criminals, the community refuses to accept this as the new normal. In “January 1994, several teens opened fire inside the rink, injuring seven people. The shooting made national headlines, and the rink's name became synonymous with the gang violence escalating in Boston at that time. [Owner Greer] Toney fought to keep her business open by strengthening the rink's after-school programs. The violence subsided, and for the next 10 years, everything rolled smoothly at Chez Vous” (Sweeney). In most every sense, things are looking up for dot, and the explosive growth and increase in diversity in the area prove this. “’Dorchester has made a crucial turn in its history,’ says Daniel Monti, a sociology professor at Boston University. Today, he says, concerns focus on the pace and effects of that comeback, ‘when 10 to 20 years ago we worried about how much future Dorchester had’” (Sweeney). Just as it had been centuries ago before the influx of Irish and West English immigrants, Dot is a beacon for almost all types of person, from the ones seeking a more cultured stomping grounds to those just trying to make a start in America. Dorchester, Massachusetts is known for many things, but one stands out above all others: an undying sense of community.

Works Cited
Clapp, Ebenezer, Jr. History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Dorchester: Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society, 1859. Print.
Sweeney, Emily. "Dot. Dot. Dot." Boston.com. The Boston Globe, 18 Sept. 2005. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.
Taylor, Earl. "Dorchester MA, Town History." Dorchester Atheneum. N.p., 6 Oct. 2008. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.


David Farrell

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Dorchester Massachusetts is a section of Boston that has one of the longest histories of any city in the United States. The culture, as a result, is not only deep and complex, but it has also been constantly evolving. Dorchester started off as a rural area where farmers were able to make a living. It was then shifted into an urban environment when annexed into Boston (Taylor) . During the time to follow it quickly earned its name as the working class sector of Boston, and a center for productivity. Factories sprung up and immigrants moved to the area in order to be employed. This historical situation provides the context for the culture of Dorchester. People in Dorchester were hard working and in the lower working class ("Dorchester History"). The heavy reliance on the factories in the area meant periods of strife when one was closed. The people living in that area often had no means to support themselves if they were not actively working.

The culture of Dorchester, therefore, became quite a unique one. Not only was it a working class urban area, but it was also a place of great diversity because of how many immigrated in order to have a job. Many minorities comprised the populace of Dorchester, and they were the ones who worked in the factories. Of these minorities, the Irish were strongly represented ("Dorchester History"). All of the diversity caused almost of mixing pot of cultural traditions. However, it was clear to see the Irish traditions dominant. The architecture of the town has a heavy Catholic influence, and there are an abundance of churches seen in Dorchester. It is important to note that the hard working nature of Dorchester's inhabitants was quite a bonus to Boston during the Industrial Revolution. It was able to produce a variety of products such as paper and chocolate (Taylor). The inhabitants of Dorchester were for the most part the dedicated workers most saw them as, however, in times of economic distress they were placed under a lot of pressure. Crime was not unusual in the area during times like the Great Depression ("Dorchester History"). However, even during difficult times the strong sense of community always prevailed, and that was what made Dorchester unique. The culutre of Dorchester has been a dynamic one with a few consistent themes, but overall it is a town of loyalty, dedication, and community.

Works Cited
"Dorchester History". DorchesterHistoricalSociety.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013.
Taylor, Earl. "Dorchester MA, Town History." Dorchester Atheneum. N.p., 6 Oct. 2008. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.