City of Boston Archives
Government and Organizational Resources
archives
city of boston
records
deeds
maps

201 Rivermoor Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 635-1195
Archives@boston.gov
https://www.boston.gov/departments/archives-and-records-management

The City Archives houses and manages historic City records and documents that are no longer in active use, including photographs, plans, deeds, maps and other documents. You’d be surprised by the wide range of historic materials that can inform your understanding of the history of Boston and its neighborhoods and buildings. Examples include:

  • Assessing Department records (property values, maps, descriptions, ownership records
  • Real estate, personal estate and poll tax records 1822-1985.
  • Scrapbook of advertisements of property auctions and sales 1872.
  • Plans circa 1918-1985 (large format plans arranged by ward number and block. Includes the block numbers, street names, plot dimensions, and building footprints.)
  • Surveyor plans, arranged by neighborhood, which were drawn circa 1856-1877.
  • Collection of aerial photographs of Boston, circa 1980.
  • Boston Redevelopment Authority Records including photos and other documents of Boston’s urban renewal efforts, c. 1958-1987 .
  • Inspections Services Department records can be particularly informative, and include: 
  • Building division records
  • Building permit files of demolished buildings (takedowns) circa 1919-1987
  • Photographs of demolished buildings circa 1950-1990
  • Permits and permit log books 1874-1963
  • Permit plans circa 1970-1995
  • Certificates of use and occupancy 1972-1995
  • Special examination reports and photographs 1915-1918 reports of special examinations of buildings in response to complaints of unsafe conditions. Includes photographs of buildings.
  • Street numbering records 1898-1972 includes building department copies of notices of changes in street numbering sent by the public works department and street number logs from 1898-1946, 1951-1958 and 1964-1970.

Other Resources

Piano Row: Cycles of History

Piano Row: Cycles of History is an original film documentary about the evolution of Bost

Historic Ladder Blocks—An Endangered Resource in Downtown Boston

With no local protection or means of preventing demolition, the Ladder Blocks are at great risk o

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention events and booklet are part of the Modern Module program

Boston's Changing Neighborhoods

On February 4, 2016 the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted an Urban Forum: “Boston’s Changi

Easements as a Tool for Preservation

Here in Boston there are a few ways we can protect a building or other historic resource.

Neighborhood Preservation Workshops

The Boston Preservation Alliance’s Neighborhood Preservation Workshop was a pilot program that ra

Inspectional Services Department (ISD)

1010 Massachusetts Avenue
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 635-5300

Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)

One City Hall Square
Floor 9
Boston, MA 02201
(617) 722-4300

Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC)

City of Boston Departments and Commissions

Thank you to all our corporate members, including: