Historic Ladder Blocks—An Endangered Resource in Downtown Boston
Booklets, Fact Sheets, & Publications
Downtown; Ladder Blocks;

With no local protection or means of preventing demolition, the Ladder Blocks are at great risk of permanent loss of character. In 2016, the Boston Preservation Alliance successfully petitioned to have the Ladder Blocks added to Preservation Massachusetts' Most Endangered Historic Resources Program to raise awareness for this unique district and the threats to its character.

The Ladder Blocks are a series of city blocks located within Boston’s famous Downtown Crossing neighborhood and encompassing the historic Washington Street Theatre District. Due to their location, the Ladder Blocks are typically bustling with pedestrian traffic. With a subway station at every corner, including the prominent Park Street and Downtown Crossing stations, thousands of people experience the historic streets of the district and the unique sense of place created by the character of the architecture and human-scale massing of the buildings. Winter Street is actually closed to vehicular traffic creating a pedestrian promenade reminiscent of the neighborhood's pre-automobile commercial dynamic.

In this publication, we outline the historic significance of the neighborhood, current threats, and ongoing efforts for the protection of the Ladder Blocks.  

Other Resources

Piano Row: Cycles of History

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

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.

City of Boston Archives

201 Rivermoor Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 635-1195

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: