Brickbottom District of Somerville

Historical Landmark

General Information: 1 Fitchburg St
Somerville, MA 02143
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Interest Areas: Art, History / Heritage, Photography, Architecture

In its early years, the Brickbottom District was a major site of brick making due to its clay-rich land. By the late 19th and through the first half of the 20th century, the District was a vital neighborhood of immigrants from all over the world. The residents worked, lived and played together in a cohesive and intermingled way. It was an urban place of houses, parks, factories and streets named after the trees that lined them.

Two of the remaining buildings from those times, which now house Brickbottom Artists Association and Joy Street Studios, had been a crucial part of the neighborhood, offering employment and nourishment. Brickbottom was home to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Teas & Co. Grocery Warehouse (the A & P) and Joy Street was first the New England Bakery and finally the Happy Home Baking Co.

Today the houses and most of the trees are gone, but the aging industrial landscape of the past is deceiving. Its gray appearance has not yet caught up to the artistic productivity inside the old A & P and the Happy Home Bakery. For the past 20 years, Brickbottom Artists Association has contributed to Somervilles vibrant art community as well as to the broader regional and national art scene. Its established presence and continued artistic clout inspires its newer neighbor, Joy Street Studios. The ever expanding community of artists at Joy Street offer new energy and excitement to the Brickbottom District. Both BAA and JSS enrich each other as they anticipate the future of The Brickbottom Art District.

The Districts existing art community takes great interest in the future vision. Since it is the areas heart and soul, it will act as a building block for a new reorientation of the Districts economy working towards more art, design, new media, and cultural centers, and a return to the vitality of the past. For more information on the Edge as Center: Envisioning the Post-Industrial Landscape

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Last Modified: January 28, 2008 at 9:21 AM