100 Years of Innovation

  • 1830-1890s. The South Boston Waterfront is transformed by city leaders planning for the city’s growth. Tidal flats and marshlands are reclaimed as land and the harbor is dredged to make way for ever larger ships.
  • 1912-1913. Commonwealth Pier is built to serve as a gateway for domestic and international trade. At its opening in 1913, it is the largest commercial pier structure in the world.
  • 1914. The White Star and Hamburg-American cruise lines select Commonwealth Pier as their birth for passenger and freight traffic.
  • 1917. With the onset of World War I the pier becomes a major receiving area for troops and shipments.
  • 1918. The USS Salem moves from Charlestown to Commonwealth Pier to become the receiving ship for the Port of Boston.
  • 1950-1980. The newly commissioned Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) invests in the Pier for the fishing and container shipping industries.
  • 1972. Massport acquires Commonwealth Pier’s neighbor the Fish Pier. Turning 100 in 1914 the Fish Pier is the nation’s largest dedicated commercial fishing structure.
  • 1980-1990. Plans to reinvent Commonwealth Pier as the World Trade Center Boston -- a multi-purpose business, meeting and entertainment center are developed by Massport, Fidelity Investments and The Drew Company.
  • 1990-2000. The Big Dig commences and the Central Artery that disconnected Boston from its harbor and the South Boston Waterfront comes down. A 3.5 mile tunnel is created below the newly emerging Seaport District providing a vastly improved connection to Boston’s Logan International Airport. The Seaport Hotel, the first high-rise on the South Boston Waterfront is built.
  • 2000-Today. The “T” in the form of the Silver Line connects the area to the rest of Boston and its suburbs with the aptly named World Trade Center stop among others. Seaport Place becomes Boston’s first master-planned waterfront office campus with two office towers complementing the Seaport Hotel and the renamed Seaport World Trade Center. New hotels, office and residential towers and entertainment venues spring up with more on the way. The ICA opens in 2006 and thousands flock each summer to the Bank of America Concert Pavilion. Today the Seaport District is one of North America’s largest areas of development with literally billions of dollars of new construction planned in the next ten years.
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