About Three Squares Main Street
Today our business district and surrounding area is home to more than 140 businesses, 10,000 residents, historic sites, murals and other art, and strong institutions.
Using the Main Street Approach™ of Economic Vitality, Promotion, Design and Organization, we effect community pride, develop strategies to grow the macro economy; beautify our district as an enjoyable place to be, and leverage human and financial resources to grow our impact.
For many years the Hyde/Jackson business district has been home to immigrant families, hard-working entrepreneurs, commerce, and industry. Centre Street, dating to the 1600s, has the historically significant Stony Brook flow under it in Jackson Square. The street extends to Hyde Square and Canary Square in the business district, and connects further southward to West Roxbury and northward to Dudley Square.
Our commercial business district and neighboring developments were strongly influenced by its industrial history. Breweries were first established near the Stony Brook because of its fresh water. Later soda factories replaced breweries during Prohibition. In what is now the Mildred Hailey Apartments (second largest public housing development in New England), Moxie soda, which was a precursor to Coca Cola, established Moxieland in 1928.
Innovative housing styles were developed for workers in the factories. Commercial businesses flourished along Centre Street in newly created ground floor, commercial unit extensions along Centre Street and cinemas were built. The largest women’s shoe factory in the United States operated at the corner of Centre and Bickford Streets. After its closure in the 1950s and later re-use as apartments, the Plant Shoe Factory became engulfed in flames in 1976 and was destroyed, which led to the development of JP Plaza and adjacent supermarket and parking lot.
In the 1800s German and Irish immigrants settled in nearby housing to work in the breweries and factories. Later Puerto Ricans and Cuban immigrants settled here, many moving from the South End in the 1960s, and established the area as the largest and most significant Spanish-speaking community in Boston beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Plant Shoe Factory at the corner of Centre Street and Bickford Street, after being destroyed by fire, led to the development of JP Plaza and later its adjacent supermarket. New businesses have opened and flourished since that time and a diverse blend of stores, ethnic restaurants, and community-based service businesses have established roots. Today more than 25 store-front businesses have had the same owner for more than 20 years—a remarkable achievement.
Presently most of our mom-and-pop businesses are owned by immigrants (from the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America). The majority of immigrant businesses are owned by people from the Dominican Republic. For more information on demographics, go to our Market Study .
In 2018, the Massachusetts Cultural Council approved the neighborhood as a cultural district—Boston’ s Latin Quarter—recognizing the importance of the Latino community here.