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Boston Architecture: Discover 250 Years of Home Design Evolution

As one of America’s oldest cities, there are many ways to experience Boston’s historic vibe. Most choose the well-known tourist trails and sightseeing trips. But for those keen to uncover a more authentic sense of The Hub’s identity, an architectural tour of the city’s wonderful homes is a must.

Boston is home to a plethora of residential landmarks and architecturally-distinct homes. Scattered through 23 neighborhoods, their designs have greatly evolved over the last (almost) three centuries. Various architectural types – such as Federal, Colonial Revival, Victorian, or Second Empire – reflect the spirit of the first English settlers and other immigrants, as well as the major American design trends.

By documenting key data for each property from our PropertyShark reports, capturing house images with Google Maps Street View, and uncovering each home style with the professional opinion of an architect, we’ve put together a slideshow celebrating Boston’s architectural diversity.

Take a virtual walk down history lane and explore great neighborhoods – including Beacon Hill, Dorchester, Jamaica Plains, and Roxbury – to discover how Boston home styles have transformed over the last 250 years:

You are free to use the code below to embed the slideshow on your website, by giving credit to RentCafe:

Local landmarks

Landmark homes are rare and usually expensive. If you can ever find one on the market and if you can afford it, living in such a gem will surely be a unique cultural (and architectural) experience.

The beautiful David Sears House, built in 1816, is a stunning combination of Federal and French styles in Beacon Hill. Reflective of both styles, it features white masonry, fantastic columns, and classic curved lines. This four-story building is currently owned by the Somerset Club and has a high market value of $5,795,500.

The George F. Milliken residence on 44 Virginia Street, in Dorchester, stands as a remarkable example of a late 19th century dwelling, displaying characteristics of the Queen Anne and Stick Style aesthetics. The wooden-house was commissioned by George F. Milliken, a man recognized for his many inventions that advanced the technology of the telegraph, among other things. Can you imagine this landmark was last sold in 2006 for merely $200,000?

Buying a house in Boston

If you’re keen on buying a property that’s filled with history, chances are Boston is a great city to find one that suits your tastes, your budget, and your love for architectural wonders.

This lovely Victorian home in Central Jamaica Plain, West Boston is for sale, asking $899,000. Although it was built back in 1910, it features all the conveniences required by a modern family: newly refinished hardwood floors, country kitchen with pantry, four large bathrooms, manicured grounds, and a detached brick garage covered in vines. On top of it all, it’s just steps away from Jamaica Pond and Centre Street’s attractions.

Home for sale at 66 Perkins St, Boston

Too pricey for your pocket? For under half a million – $449,000 – you can become the happy owner of this two-family home built at the turn of the 20th century. Located on a quiet street in Roxbury, the property can be considered a good investment, as the owners could live on the 3-bedroom upper floor, while renting the first-floor unit for around $1,000/month.

Renting a house in Boston

Those wishing to appreciate the beauty of Boston without the responsibility of ownership might like to take a look at Hancock Village in West Roxbury. This charming apartment community provides the convenience of modern-day living, but with all the old world details that define Boston. The community is set on 80 acres of wonderful landscaping. Here you’ll find a large-screen movie theater, internet cafe, lounge, fitness center, parking, and shopping. The pet-friendly apartments start at $1,870/month for a one-bedroom.

Hancock Village apartments in Boston

When it comes to Boston’s historical beauty and charisma, it is easy to see why this is a great place to call home! Check out more apartments for rent in Boston in various neighborhoods to find your next perfect place.

Nicky Iudean
Nicky Iudean
Nicky is a Senior Communications Specialist for RENTCafé.com, where she researches and writes about real estate, interior design, and all things that spark renters’ interests. She is also your go-to person for content collaborations. Nicky double majored in Marketing and Applied Economics and holds a master's degree in Marketing Strategies and Policies. You can reach her via email at

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