Savin Hill
Part of: Dorchester
Contains: Over-the-Bridge
Massachusetts > Greater Boston > City of Boston > Dorchester > Savin Hill

Savin Hill has long been regarded one of the most desirable sections of Dorchester. It combines relative proximity to downtown Boston with a sense of distance from the city, and has the enviable combination of a hillside neighborhood of historic houses with water views and a beach, along with a subway stop nearby.

A beach neighborhood within Boston. Savin Hill is a beach neighborhood within Boston, and has a significant concentration of attractive historic houses. Savin Hill Beach is one of three public beaches comprising the Dorchester Shores Reservation, and was designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers landscape firm.

Over-the-bridge. Within Savin Hill, the most desirable section is the waterfront, separated from the mainland of Dorchester by Route 93, and from Columbia Point by Morrissey Boulevard. The part of the neighborhood contains Savin Hill Beach, Malibu Beach, and the Savin Hill Yacht Club founded in 1875.

Reclaimed land. Part of Savin Hill Cove are made of reclaimed land. Savin Hill Beach was previously a salt marsh, and was filled with dredged sand from Dorchester Bay in 1908 to create land for a park and beach.

LNG fire risk. Savin Hill is one of the closest neighborhoods to the liquefied natural gas tanks at Commercial Point. In the event of a fire or explosion, the heat within a quarter mile would melt steel, and would damage buildings and cause significant burns within a mile. More at the fire risk report here.

While the Savin Hill area was settled in the 1600s, the earliest surviving housing dates to the 1840s, and the majority to the late 1800s.


Savin Hill is divided into two sections, inland and over-the-bridge. The inland section runs from Pleasant Street to I-93, next to Upham's Corner and the Polish Triangle. The waterfront area east of the highway, known as Over-the-bridge, is the most desirable section of Savin Hill. This section of the neighborhood is built on two main streets around a steep hill. The inner street, Grampian Way is elevated and has more expansive views, while the outer street, Savin Hill Avenue, is closer to the waterfront and beaches.

Best blocks and notable buildings

There are essentially three sections of architecturally significant housing in Savin Hill:

(a) 199-254 Savin Hill Ave, between Southview Street and Evandale Terrace along the south and east sides contains most of the architecturally-significant residences of Savin Hill. The houses here are single family, designed in Italianate/Mansard, Queen Anne, and Stick Style. On the south side of Savin Hill Avenue, the houses are close to Malibu Beach – as a result, residents have a mix of mature trees and views of the water.
(b) 116/118-189 Grampian Way, between Evandale Terrace and Savin Hill Avenue
(c) 24-96 Grampian Way, between Rockmere Avenue and Evandale Terrace.

5, 7, 9 Grampian Way constitute an interesting, San Francisco-like streetscape of Queen Anne/Colonial Revival houses climbing the hill with two-story porches to take advantage of the views.

Kehew-Wright House (24 Grampian Way, Over-the-Bridge) (PDF) was built c.1871, with a 1,400sq.ft. stable and a large parcel of land.

65 Grampian Way is one of several significant towered Queen Anne houses in the neighborhood.

66/66A Grampian Way is the only masonry double row house in Savin Hill.

71 Grampian Way is an interesting Italianate set on a rise, with the main entrance overlooking Savin Hill Park. Its proximity to, and location on, the park makes this house appear to be the focal point of a large 1800s estate.

17-19 Playstead Rd is perhaps the oldest house in the area. Built in the 1840s, this Carpenter Gothic house has three steeply pitched gables with diamond-shaped windows.

186 to 254 Savin Hill Avenue, between Southview Street and Evandale Terrace, is a row of substantial late-Victorian houses designed to take advantage of the impressive water views.

245 Savin Hill Ave. represents an unusually robust foray into the more sculptural qualities of Queen Anne domestic architecture dependent on rounded forms for design interest. Here, the off center entrance is flanked by a narrow round towered segment and a much broader towered corner component Both towers are capped by conical roofs. Projecting from the larger of the two towers is a curved oriel window, which in turn, is enclosed by a conical roof cap.

252-254 Savin Hill Avenue is regarded as the most architecturally-significant house in Savin Hill. Built in the 1870s, this Gothic Revival house draws on the romantic ideas of Andrew Jackson Dowling for its massing, gables, and steeply-pitched roof.

375 Savin Hill Ave. is an Italianate/Mansard cottage built c.1870, in a section of Savin Hill that is devoid of water views, park frontage and picturesque rocky outcroppings, according to the Boston Landmarks Commission's March 1995 report.

379 Savin Hill Ave. is an Italianate/Mansard cottage built c.1870, in a section of Savin Hill that is devoid of water views, park frontage and picturesque rocky outcroppings, according to the Boston Landmarks Commission's March 1995 report.

385 Savin Hill Ave. is an Italianate/Mansard cottage built c.1870, in a section of Savin Hill that is devoid of water views, park frontage and picturesque rocky outcroppings, according to the Boston Landmarks Commission's March 1995 report.


The Red Line and the Commuter Rail pass through the middle of the neighborhood, with the Savin Hill stop centrally-located. Residents in the northern section of Savin Hill can access both at the JFK/UMass station in adjacent Columbia Point. From the Savin Hill stop, it is two stops on the Commuter Rail and four stops on the Red Line to South Station.


Savin Hill is a fairly large neighborhood in northern Dorchester. To the north is South Boston's Andrew Square; to the east is Dorchester's Columbia Point; to the west are Jones Hill, Polish Triangle, and Upham's Corner, and Meeting House Hill; and to the south are Fields Corner, Clam Point/Harrison Square, and Commercial Point.

In the rather literal spirit of naming that led ____ Gosnold to name a particular vineyard after his [wife] Martha, and a particular cape after the [schools of cod], _______. This neighborhood was previously called Rock Hill, Old Hill, and finally Savin Hill, after the red juniper (savin) bushes abundant here. [or is it red cedar? trees not bushes?]

the Neponset tribe. The Neponset is a smaller division of the Massachuset tribe, who inhabited the state centuries before European settlers, from which the Commonwealth took its name.

The Neponset native Americans spent summers in Savin Hill for centuries, before the arrival of Europeans. In 1614, Captain John Smith of Virginia, the first English settler in America, visited Dorchester and traded with the Neponset tribe. Sixteen years later, in 1630, the ...Savin Hill was settled and founded in June, 1630, just a few months before Boston was settled. The first settlers were Puritans who arrived from England on the ship 'Mary and John'. They had previously settled near Hull, Mass. before moving north to the hill overlooking a protected harbor, Dorchester Bay. The original settlement was at today's intersection of Grampian Way and Savin Hill Avenue.

On October 8, 1636, Cutchamakin deeded the remainder of his territory, called Unquety, to Richard Collicot for 28 fathoms of wampum. This was in addition to the 56 acres of salt marsh and upland which Collicot received earlier from Chickataubut. Collicot's land grant, which became modern day Milton, was clearly delineated by land forms. It stretched from the Neponset River, between the Estuary and Fowl Meadow to the summit of the Great Blue Hill.

The sachem reserved the best land for himself; forty acres of upland, salt marsh, and fields including present day Ventura playground and Dorchester Park.

The first people arriving in the area were Puritans who came on the "Mary and John" from England. They had formerly settled further south on the coast, in the Hull area, before moving north to a hill overlooking a protected harbor, now called Dorchester Bay.

After the American Civil War, the Worthington family, who owned most of the land in present-day Savin Hill, started selling house lots. At that time, most of the Victorian homes that line the slope of the hill were constructed.

The original boundary of Dorchester extended almost to the Rhode Island border. As time went on, settlements broke away and the geographical size of the town continued to shrink until 1870, when the town of Dorchester was incorporated into the city of Boston.