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In the 1600s, William Blaxton set up his farmstead on Beacon Hill because it was far from the bustle of the city. John Hancock’s uncle Thomas Hancock built his mansion on the hill in the 1700s so he could enjoy a rural lifestyle. In the early 1800s, future mayor of Boston Harrison Gray Otis moved to Beacon Hill because it was the new and fashionable neighborhood he was helping create. Louisa May Alcott, in the 19th century, and Robert Frost, in the 20th, lived on the hill because the literary set loved the neighborhood’s picturesque streets and close quarters that made it easy to get together for conversation. The 9,000 residents who live in this small, urban neighborhood of Boston today appreciate its walkability, convenience, quirkiness, and neighborliness. The historic architecture, ever-burning gas lamps, rugged bricks, and one-of-a-kind shops prove that the best of the past can live comfortably with the novelty of the present.

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