This is Part 2 in the series of blogs whereby HBI’s Jeff Morgan synthesizes the history of Roxbury Neck to help inform the direction in which new Roxbury developments may shape the future of the neighborhood. Check out Part 1 - Early Roxbury before the Revolutionary War
The Impact of the Revolutionary War on the Industrialization of Roxbury
Prior to the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) Roxbury prospered. Agriculture and animal husbandry remained important to the town’s economy. Throughout the century animals were still allowed to graze in common areas. Other economic ventures included textile mills, ropewalks, a piano factory, a clock factory, lumber and stone yards, salt works, tanneries, slaughter houses, grist mills, and a chocolate mill. Following the Revolution, Roxbury Street (present day Washington Street) became a busy thoroughfare moving surplus and merchandise to and from the city.
Following the Battle of Lexington during the Siege of Boston in 1775, the American army constructed a substantial fortification called the “Burying Ground Redoubt” across Roxbury Street (present day Washington Street) just south of the Burying Ground where the Way to Dorchester (present-day Eustis Street) began with its front nearly on the southerly line of the road (Figure 4).
The redoubt provided protection to the town from British soldiers leaving Boston. On June 17 the men of Roxbury marched to the meetinghouse and then to the burying ground. Roxbury suffered considerable damage during the Siege. Under Washington’s command a number of houses were removed along Roxbury Street. Following the Revolution remains of forts and earthworks were evident on the landscape and all buildings between the redoubt and the Boston neck had been destroyed.