Day 164 Boston, Fan pier
Everyday at lunch I get out to stretch my legs and today I decided to take my camera.
this is the view from Fan Pier behind the federal courthouse looking over to rows wharf.
All of the land between the downtown waterfront and the residential neighborhood of South Boston was once under water. Today’s South Boston Waterfront district, therefore, is entirely man-made, and this stretch of Boston boasts the largest acreage of filled-in land in the entire city (with the exception of Logan Airport). Fan Pier, the section closest to the downtown waterfront, serves today as the entry point for this fast-growing area.
Over the course of the nineteenth century, South Boston gradually grew northward over the mud flats separating it from downtown, even as the downtown area spread into what was once the South Cove, today’s South Station area. In the 1860s, a group of federally appointed commissioners drew up a plan for Harbor improvements, which included a proposal to build a seawall at the boundary of today’s Fan Pier. The pier�s distinctive curve made it an ideal location for a rail yard, and its name in fact refers to its unique shape. Radiating out like prongs on a fan, several railroad lines ended at the edge of the pier, allowing for an efficient transfer point for shipping cargo. For much of the twentieth century, Fan Pier therefore served as an important component to South Boston’s shipping infrastructure.
By the 1980s, new port facilities had rendered Fan Pier obsolete and it became dilapidated. New life came to the Pier when the Federal government purchased Fan Pier from restaurateur Anthony Athanas as the site for its courthouse. U.S. Representative Joseph Moakley, who was instrumental in providing federal resources to revitalize the area, predicted that the new courthouse would “serve as a catalyst for economic development” for what he claimed would soon be “the hottest place in Boston.” The Moakley Courthouse that now dominates Fan Pier not only brings many more people to the formerly neglected area, but also provides an excellent pedestrian experience along the Harborwalk, with nearby restaurants, historic markers, and stunning views of the downtown waterfront.