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A view of pre-War Boston, and Boston in 2287
Boston was the capital city of the former state of Massachusetts in the New England Commonwealth until the nuclear holocaust of 2077. The downtown core of Boston is one of the most chaotic areas featured in the Fallout series. The streets are fought over between various raider groups, Triggermen gangs, super mutants, and even the occasional group of Gunners. This produces frequent bursts of gunfire and explosions. It can be difficult, especially at a early level, to find a safe route through the city. Direct confrontation of the various groups can make for slow progress. However, Boston is unique to the series in the amount of vertical space. Often finding a safer route is a matter of looking up. However, the elevated rooftops are not entirely safe. One should watch for Gunners and Super Mutant on or near the elevated highway which cuts through the financial district.
As one of the birthplaces of American independence, Boston features countless major landmarks, including Bunker Hill, Massachusetts State House, Old North Church, and many, many more, complemented by remnants of American corporate glory, such as the Mass Fusion Building. Unlike many other cities, Boston also features one unusually successful vault in the form of Vault 81, found at the westernmost limit of the city. Though it suffered due to the passage of time, it became a prominent settlement by the year 2287. The much larger Vault 114, located Boston Common, via Park Street station was not completed by the time of the war.
- 1 Background
- 2 Neighborhoods
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Gallery
- 5 Appearances
- 6 References
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture.
Boston proper only suffered relatively mild damage during the Great War, as only one nuclear missile was launched against the city, and by a stroke of luck it missed its target and instead struck the coastline, limiting the damage to the surrounding area. Ground zero of the missile, however, became a highly dangerous area filled with high level radiation and lightning storms, and has in the post-war years become known as "The Glowing Sea".
- See also: Boston streets
Cambridge was a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the Boston metropolitan area. The site for what would become Cambridge was chosen in December 1630, because it was located safely upriver from Boston Harbor – and on the north side of the Charles River, which made it easily defensible from attacks by enemy ships. Located at the first convenient Charles River crossing west of Boston, Newe Towne as it was called at the time, was one of a number of towns founded by the 700 original Puritan colonists of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Eventually, it was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in Britain, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders.
The town expanded greatly, before eventually being subsumed into the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Before the Great War, it was famous for the Commonwealth Institute of Technology laying at its heart, and numerous prominent centers of research and development, such as Greenetech Genetics or Cambridge Polymer Labs. Academic infrastructure constituted a major part of the district, as students continued to flock to the Institute in search of higher learning. When the Great War brought devastation to the world, Cambridge received a direct hit, although much of the district was spared from the devastation. Among them were surviving staff and students of the CIT, who eventually founded The Institute in 2110 beneath the CIT ruins, and permanently sealed themselves off from the surface in the 2180s, after failed attempts to coexist with the surface and the creation of the molecular relay. Since then, Cambridge has been left to its own devices, divided between ferals clustering around Cambridge crater, raider gangs operating along the Charles River, and the odd super mutant warband. Around 2287, recon squad Gladius arrived in Cambridge on the third long range recovery expedition sent by the Brotherhood of Steel, but they have fared poorly due to relentless attacks by local wildlife, human or otherwise.
Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston, originally called Mishawum by the Massachusett, it is located on a peninsula north of the Charles River, across from downtown Boston, and also adjoins the Mystic River and Boston Harbor. Charlestown was laid out in 1629 by engineer Thomas Graves, one of its early settlers. It was originally a separate town and the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Charlestown became a city in 1848 and was annexed by Boston on January 5, 1874. With that, it also switched from Middlesex County, to which it had belonged since 1643, to Suffolk County. It has had a substantial Irish American population since the migration of Irish people during the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s. Separated from Cambridge by the elevated freeway, Charlestown's old wooden row houses and their colonial architecture structures is still very present in 2287. This neighborhood is primarily a raider territory, with (sometimes hostile) scavengers to the south and along the river. The neighborhood is dominated by two ancient monuments—Bunker Hill, and the U.S.S. Constitution.
West of Back bay this neighborhood derived its name from the origin of its pre-War name – Fenway–Kenmore. The Fens, sometimes called Back Bay Fens, was a parkland and urban wild within the heart of Boston, was built in 1870 to serve as a link in the Emerald Necklace park system.
Currently the friendliest neighborhood in all of downtown Boston, The Fens is the home of Diamond City – "the Great, Green Jewel of the Commonwealth." The rest of the neighborhood however is occupied by raiders and slavers.
East Boston, nicknamed "Eastie," is a neighborhood of Boston that was created by connecting five islands (Noddle's; Hog's – which later known as Breed's Island, and would become Orient Heights; Governor's; Bird; and Apple.) using land fill. It is separated from the rest of the city by Boston Harbor and is bordered by Winthrop, Revere, and the Chelsea Creek. Directly west of East Boston, across Boston Inner Harbor, is the neighborhood of North End and Boston's Financial District.
Originally connected to the city by ferries, by 1801 a proposal by William H. Sumner to the federal government to create a turnpike to connect Salem to Boston via the undeveloped Noddle's Island. The only issue with the plan was that the land in Charlestown was already purchased by the federal government as the site for a future naval yard. However with the War of 1812 the needs for a naval yard and its secure route through East Boston and over the Boston Harbor took precedence. Subsequently the route was planned to go through Chelsea as opposed to Noddle's Island.
This new territory would be annexed by the City of Boston in 1836. By the mid 1800s the neighborhood would become an influx point for immigrants to the city for well over a century. Institutions such as the East Boston Preparatory School were founded – the particular one by the Catholic Church – to handle some of their educational needs. This influx in population would lead to rapid growth in the industrialization of the area, and subsequently its transportation needs. That said, the neighborhood itself wasn't directly connected to Boston proper until 1904, with the construction of the first tunnel to cross the harbor: a subway tunnel. Several more tunnels would be constructed in the following decades. In the early 1920s, an airfield was constructed, and eventually it would expand into an International Airport.
Due to the Big Dig not occurring in the world of Fallout, the Ted Williams Tunnel connecting the Boston Airport and South Boston is notably absent, however the pre-dig automotive and subway tunnels are featured in the game. However, following the warm both tunnels have collapsed under the harbor, making them useless for transit.
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A part of Back Bay, the Charles River Esplanade is what's left of the state-owned park and neighboring Back Bay urban blocks. The park itself was dedicated as the "Boston Embankment" in 1910, and created as part of the construction of the Charles River Dam. It originally extend to Charlesgate and connected with Olmsted's Emerald Necklace, however it went through a major expansion from 1928 to 1936, widening and lengthening the park land.
Now the location's waterfront mansions still exhibit the faded grandeur of times gone by, and one of the main thoroughfares of Boston—Commonwealth Avenue. Currently, raiders and Gunners are vying for control of this zone, though there are reports of strange smells (stranger than normal) emanating from HalluciGen, Inc. Meanwhile a secret society has made their home within the amphitheater.
Originally a tidal bay, Native Americans built fish weirs here, by 1892 however a filling project would completely fill the area. The project was the largest of a number of land reclamation projects which, beginning in 1820, more than doubled the size of the original Shawmut Peninsula.
This neighborhood was once known for its numerous brownstones — considered one of the best preserved examples of 19th-century urban design in the United States — as well as numerous architecturally significant individual buildings, and cultural institutions. This however didn't stop new construction, such as Trinity Tower dominating its skyline. Now the streets and alleyways are home to roving bands of raiders, ferals, and packs of wild dogs.
The first European settler was William Blaxton – also spelled Blackstone. In 1625 he built a house and orchard on Beacon Hill's south slope, roughly at the location of Beacon and Spruce street. Latter, specifically in 1630, in a "preformal arrangement" the settlement of Boston was established by the Massachusetts Bay Company. The southwestern slope was used by the city for military drills and livestock grazing. In 1634 a signal beacon was established on the top of the hill. Sailors and British soldiers visited the north slope of Beacon Hill during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, it became an "undesirable" area for Boston residents. Where "Fringe activities" occurred on "Mount Whoredom", the backslope of Beacon Hill.
In 1708 Beacon street was established from a cow path to the Boston Common. The Massachusetts State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1787, was completed in 1795. Replacing the Old State House in the Financial District. The Mount Vernon Proprietors group was formed to develop the trimount area, when by 1780 the city's neighborhoods could no longer meet the needs of the growing number of residents. Roughly 19 acres of grassland west of the State House was purchased in 1795, most of it from John Singleton Copley. The Beacon Hill district's development began when Charles Bulfinch, laid out the plan for the neighborhood. Four years later the hills were leveled, Mount Vernon street was laid, and freestanding mansions, symmetrical pairs of houses, and row houses were built along it by the turn of the 19th century. The south slope in particular "became the seat of Boston wealth and power." Carefully planned for people who left the then densely populated areas. Becoming home to those called the Boston Brahmin, the "harmless, inoffensive, untitled aristocracy" (The last surviving of which are the Cabots). The Flat of the Hill was known for its single family homes, and the North Slope was where immigrants settled among the large African population.
Needless to say this neighborhood was historic before the war, and was once one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston. It was once well known as the gateway to the Financial District, and for its Federal-style rowhouses its narrow, gaslit streets, brick sidewalks, and cobblestone alleys. Because the Massachusetts State House is in a prominent location at the top of the hill, the term "Beacon Hill" became a common metonym to refer to the state government or the legislature.
Now however, it is a far less desirable place. Where bands of raiders jostle for control and many structures have been decimated (such as the Vault-Tec regional headquarters). One area that still seems untouched by the ravages of war and time is the mysterious Cabot House, at the north end of this neighborhood.
This residential neighborhood once boasted continuous residential inhabitants since 1630. In the 18th century the neighborhood became a fashionable place to live. Wealthy families shared the neighborhood with artisans, journeymen, laborers, servants, and slaves. The district is infamous for its long history of rioting and unrest, from the Stamp Act riots of the early American Revolutionary War that forced Thomas Hutchinson to flee in 1765 to the religious and migrant violence throughout the 19th century, punctuated by various epidemics. It wasn't until the late 19th century and intense efforts to eradicate poverty among North End residents that the fortunes turned. From the 1880s onwards, the old wooden buildings were replaced by modern architecture using brick and mortar. Only a select few historical buildings were preserved, most importantly Paul Revere's House.
North End remained largely unaffected by the modernizing craze that swept Boston in the 21st century. The historical North End district continued to live in the shadow of the superhighways cutting through Boston and the Financial District's massive skyscrapers reaching towards the sky preferring the warmth of brick and the elegance of wrought-iron balconies. The wharf continued to serve shipping interests and life went on all the way until the Great War. Despite superficial damage, North End weathered the holocaust surprisingly well and even two centuries after the war, most of its buildings remain standing and in habitable condition, including the Old North Church, where the Railroad founded its latest headquarters after the loss of the Switchboard. The densely packed alleyways are also a haven for roving bands of super mutants and raiders, concealing the Railroad from prying eyes. However, other clandestine creatures stalk the night here, most notably Pickman, a killer preying on the hapless raiders.
Once owned by William Blaxton (the first European settler of Boston), until it was bought from him by the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Established in 1634, Boston Common started as a communal grazing ground for their cattle. However this only lasted for a few years, as affluent families bought additional cows, which led to overgrazing. A perfect example of the Tragedy of the commons, after which grazing was limited in 1646 to 70 cows at a time. Boston Common continued to host cattle until they were formally banned from it in 1830 by Mayor Harrison Gray Otis.
The Common was used as a camp by the British before the American Revolutionary War, from which they left for the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It was used for public hangings up until 1817, most of which were from a large oak tree which was replaced with gallows in 1769. Including the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs. On May 19, 1713, two hundred citizens rioted on the Common in reaction to a food shortage in the city. They later attacked the ships and warehouses of wealthy merchant Andrew Belcher, also the lieutenant governor was shot during the riot.
Its true park status seems to have emerged no later than 1830, when the grazing of cows was ended and renaming the Common as "Washington Park" was proposed. Renaming the bordering Sentry Street to Park Place (later to be called Park Street) in 1804 acknowledged the reality. By 1836 an ornamental iron fence fully enclosed the Common and its five perimeter malls or recreational promenades, the first of which, Tremont Mall, had been in place since 1728, in imitation of St. James's Park in London.
As time marched on and the city grew, the Common became the nexus of the city south of the river. An idyllic park surrounded by historic mansions and the State House, latter becoming the beginning of the Freedom Trail. Where tourists could follow to visit the most famous and historic sits around the city. As technology developed, they constructed a metro station to service the area. Which it did well into the 2070s. This however was not the end of its service life. It was purchased by the Vault-Tec Corporation to serve as a pre-excavated site to construct one of their Vaults. However with their purchase of a functional station from a corrupt bureaucracy they contracted the work out as well. They were just as corrupt. The scam continued until the day nuclear fire halted society above. In an ironic twist 114 would've been a place where the wealthiest would've been led by an insane fool in the most abject squalor.
Despite this the vault would be used in the time following the Great War: its inhabitants overthrowing their Overseer. After some time, the vault would become abandoned, later being discovered by a weaker band of Triggermen - led by Skinny Malone - who were muscled out of their old territory of Goodneighbor.
For some time after the war the Common was left to decay just as the rest of the city's parks. This was the state of things until Edgar Swann arrived. After his expulsion and abandonment, Swann eventually made his way to Boston Common where he made his home in the groundskeeper shack. It was here he finally lost his mind to his mutation, eventually creating armor from the swanboats of the pond and developed into a behemoth.
As for the Park itself, it was only after his arrival that the Common became a place not only to be avoided at all costs, but to be fundamentally feared. So feared in fact that even raiders won't follow their prey into the area. Early on however a group of (raiders?) constructed fortifications around the locale, in an attempt to kill the creature.
Section needed (References! for what's here, The environment of the Common itself, and the co-option and fate of the Freedom Trail // see notes)
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Once the commercial center of town the financial district was the center of the latest construction techniques prior to the Great War. Since then however, most of it is either covered in blood or the tons of rubble. As the mangled skyscraper metal from the numerous fallen structures litter the area. Simply put, this neighborhood is a disaster; what structures are left standing have gaping holes and whole missing sections. The highest of which are sometimes no more than skeletal, particularly around the main thoroughfare of Congress Street. Scavengers are just as likely to fall to their death as succumb to super mutant or Gunner gunfire. It contains perhaps the region's most important – and tallest – structure, the immense Mass Fusion building.
The Financial District is notably surrounded by the elevated Central Artery highway. providing vertical access to the rooftops and upper floors of numerous buildings, as well as a relatively safe method of cutting through much of the city center.
[[File:|right|thumb|300px]] Plays were originally banned by the Puritans until 1792; then in 1793 Boston's first theater first opened, the number would steadily grow throughout the centuries and wouldn't cease until the Great War. Several centuries the entertainment industry would be revived with the Combat Zone. They however would be taken over by raiders in 2285. Meanwhile Gunners attempt to hold on to territory while fending off super mutants encroaching on their facilities, such as the sprawling Mass Bay Medical Center. Other locations are quieter, but no less dangerous, such as Hester's Consumer Robotics, the old robotics store close to the freeway. Said to be a deceptive trap and is shunned by scavengers.
[[File:|right|thumb|300px]] Since its discovery by John Smith in 1614, Boston Harbor has been an important port in American history. It was the site of the Boston Tea Party as well as almost continuous backfilling of the harbor until the 19th century. By 1660 almost all imports came to the New England coast through the waters of Boston Harbor. With the rapid influx of immigrants Boston transformed into a booming city, however with such a population increase comes sanitary issues. (Such as dumping their waste into the nearby waterways and eventually into the harbor; a common practice throughout history.) By the late 19th century people were advised not to swim in any portion of the Harbor. The City of Boston – like most major cities at the time – would go on to create sewage stations and commissions to deal with the problem. Eventually the water quality in both the Harbor and the Charles River improved, and the projects have dramatically transformed Boston Harbor from one of the filthiest in the nation to one of the cleanest. Becoming a safe for fishing and swimming, however this wouldn't prove to last through the energy crisis.
With the loss of easily accessible resources the nation – and in particular the City of Boston – would go on to adopt a (policy/desperate measure) of nuclearization. A process by which as much was powered by nuclear reactors and possible. This however would lead to a separate problem, illegal dumping. A problem of all industries in their early days, improper hazardous waste disposal would go on to be catastrophic to – not only the environment – but also the natural evolutionary state of nature herself.
The radiation seepage would seep into the rivers, lakes, and harbor like the sewage of old. While man took both legal and physical action against the detritus, the local crustaceans would be the first to grow ever larger and poisonous. All of which would be ignored by Boston Port Authority and the media. The former of whom stopped taking calls from activists, particularly of the Nahant Oceanological Society, while the latter would spin the stories relayed to them into pro-government propaganda.
Corrupt to the core, the local municipal services of the Greater Boston area would routinely flout basic safety protocols and misallocate funds. Such as the case with the entire municipal water system. Despite a decade-long (c. 2050—2060) plan of modernizing the city's aged sanitation systems, the new equipment procured and updated facilities was of poor quality and use. Such as the case of the Weston water treatment plant, with the catastrophic and systematic failures of the equipment the facility was forced to compensate both in man-hours and even "experimental" waste water recycling. This lead to a cholera outbreak in 2077; to cover for this, the facility staff and regional municipal utility services would collude with other plants to swap out tainted water for clean. AKA the "Weston WELLness press initiative."
This was all compounded by the still functional two hundred year old (at the time) sewage tunnels; built to channel waste water directly to the nearest waterway, they would occasional overflow with combined sewer and rain water. These were never modernized, nor reinforced. Much of these ancient catacombs were crushed by the Great War, what wasn't crushed would be either cut off from the rest of the system or silted up with the harbor itself.
Now, past the shallow waters and rusty hulks the harbor has the distinction of being among the most dangerous – and soggy – of neighborhoods of Boston. Home to Mirelurks, pockets of super mutants, raiders, and the odd roving scavenger, the inhabitants are never friendly. Since the war tales of a sea monster have circulated lurking in the bay.
Once a densely populated neighborhood of Boston, this neighborhood features some of the most fearsome threats outside of Boston Common. It is separated from the rest of the neighborhoods by the elevated freeway remains (to the west), and Fort Point Channel and abutting Dorchester Bay (to the north and east). Geographically, Dorchester Neck was an isthmus, a narrow strip of land that connected the mainland of the colonial settlement of Dorchester with Dorchester Heights. Landfill has since greatly increased the amount of land on the eastern side of the historical neck, and widened the connection to the mainland to the point that South Boston is no longer considered separate from it.
During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington placed cannon on Dorchester Heights, thereby forcing the evacuation of British troops from Boston on March 17, 1776. The British evacuated Boston and Fort William and Mary for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fort William and Mary was replaced with a brick fortification known as Fort Independence. That fort was replaced by a granite fortification (bearing the same name) prior to the American Civil War, and still stands on Castle Island. Once a National Historic Landmark, and headquarters of the Commonwealth Minutemen. Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Castle Island for five months in 1827 and was inspired to write The Cask of Amontillado based on an early Castle Island "legend."
South Boston gained an identity separate from Dorchester, but the two were annexed by Boston in pieces, from 1804 to 1870. It was once known popularly as a working class Irish American neighborhood, with the neighborhood itself most popularly known as Southie.
The West Roxbury township is a neighborhood of Boston, founded contemporaneously with the city in 1630. Originally a part of the town of Roxbury, as farmlad, West Roxbury seceded in 1851 and was annexed by Boston in 1874, together with Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. By 2077, the township was a suburban district, housing the fully automated Milton General Hospital and the flagship Fallon's Department Store, both serviced by a large car park and the West Roxbury station. Prospective buyers could peruse cars at a local dealership just south of Fallon's.
The local living arrangements included a small housing area, overlooking the crossroads with the township's major landmarks, and the Shaw High School.
Behind the scenes
As featured in Fallout 4, Boston features a number of intricate differences from it's real world appearance. Various post-divergence skyscrapers fill the same space as real world structures in Boston's Skyline, but serve alternate purposes in the world of Fallout.
Perhaps the most present piece of alternate history is the avoidance of the infamous Big Dig. A massive multi year construction project spanning from 1982-2007. The purpose of the project was the rerouting of the elevated Central Artery of Interstate 93. The elevated highway in question, constructed between 1951 and 1959, served to connect Charleston and the South End neighborhood, cutting directly between the Financial district and waterfront. The Central Artery was intended to allow for more easier automotive transit into Boston, a city infamous for it's vehicle-unfriendly historic streets. Dubbed Boston's "second green monster" the Artery was near unanimously hated by the urban population of Boston. Construction had lead to the demolition of many historic homes and disconnected the neighborhoods of downtown Boston, inconveniencing the otherwise fluid pedestrian routes of the city.
The Big Dig Project sought to Demolish most of the elevated Central Artery and replace it with an underground tunnel, now named the O'Neill Tunnel. The Big Dig became the most expensive highway project in US history, facing numerous complications ranging from collapses to obstructions from the various criss-crossing utility tunnels and historic building foundations. Such complications are mirrored by the quest "The Big Dig" which follows roughly the same route as the Central Artery tunnels.
A product of the project was the displacement of 17 million cubic yards of dirt. The immense amounts of dirt were used to cap numerous landfills in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including Spectacle Island. Further, the Quincy quarries were filled in with dirt, resolving the cause of death for numerous teenagers who had attempted to dive into the shallow water at the bottom of the quarry.
In Fallout 4, a reverse construction project has occurred. The highways featured in the game closely follow the 1955 interstate plan for Boston featured in the "Yellow Book" created by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, with the exception that they are also elevated similar to the pre-dig Central Artery. As such, Boston in the game resembles what was planned for the city in 1955, taken to an extreme. By extension, many uncapped landfills are featured in the game, the Quincy quarries are unfilled, and the various tunnels built during the project are not featured in the game. Interestingly, Spectacle Island has been covered with dirt despite the project not occurring, likely due to the Metro network upgrade of the 2060s/2070s.
Hand in hand with the elevated interstate is the presence of a monorail attached on the underside of many such roadways. The monorail serves the same purpose from a transportation perspective as the notably absent North Station, providing rail access to central Boston.
This recent – 2060s/2070s, massive construction project – and the Metro network upgrade – was beset by corruption and incompetence. The city's criminal organizations taking advantage of the situation as they normally did. The scandal was written in the Boston Bugle under the title "Heaven's Highway - Devil's Doing." by Buster Connolly. However his assertion in the amount of involvement of the various mafia was overstated. His assertion that the Safety Inspector Alice Lansky being murdered was true.
Pre-war Massachusetts State House
Bunker Hill monument
Pre-War Sanctuary Hills
Post-War Sanctuary Hills
The blast door to Vault 111.
Scollay Square, post-War
A post-War Diamond City.
The entrance to Diamond City.