Dewey Square

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: North American Geography

Dewey Square is a square in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It lies at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue, Summer Street, Federal Street, Purchase Street and Surface Artery, with the Central Artery ( I-93) passing underneath in the Dewey Square Tunnel and Big Dig. South Station is on the southeast corner of the square, with MBTA Commuter Rail services, as well as Red Line subway trains and Silver Line bus rapid transit.


By 1867, Dewey Square was the intersection of four streets. Federal Street ran straight through, with its south exit running straight to the current location of the Dorchester Avenue Bridge, and Summer Street, Purchase Street and Broad Street (renamed Atlantic Avenue ca. 1870) ended. The New York and New England Railroad's passenger terminal was on the east side of the square, just south of where Summer Street is now. In 1872, the Union Freight Railroad came through down the middle of Atlantic Avenue and Federal Street.

Summer Street was later extended east as a local road, and in 1899 the Summer Street Bridge was built across Fort Point Channel. Also in 1899, Federal Street was closed south of Dewey Square to make way for the new South Station, and Atlantic Avenue was extended along the west side of the new terminal along with a realignment of the Union Freight Railroad. The Atlantic Avenue Elevated came in 1901 with a station (South Station) one block south of Dewey Square. It was closed in 1938 and torn down in the early 1940s; the Union Freight Railroad lasted until 1970.

The next major change came in the 1950s when the Central Artery was built. The whole area on the north and south sides of the square was cleared, and the Artery was built underground via the Dewey Square Tunnel. Atlantic Avenue became one-way north and Purchase Street one way south to the north of the square, and the new Surface Artery came in as a two-way road above the tunnel heading southwest from the square. Between 1969 and 1978, Boston closed both Federal Street and Summer Street for a block west of the square (they had formerly operated as a one-way pair). Summer Street has since reopened (as a two-way road), but Federal Street is still a pedestrian mall.

The Big Dig in the late 1990s and early 2000s kept the one-way configurations north of the square, but now Atlantic Avenue continues as one-way north south of the square, and Surface Artery is one-way south.

For some time, an intercity bus depot was located just north of Dewey Square over the Central Artery; it was relocated in 1993 to a nearby location just south of South Station.

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