History and Location
The Back Central neighborhood borders Downtown. The Concord River separates this neighborhood from Lower Belvidere along the length of Lawrence Street and from the Highlands to the north. It was once known as Chapel Hill, and also called the South End, and was one of the city’s first residential areas. Land sold by the Locks and Canals Company provided space for tradesmen, police officers, civic leaders and business owners to build homes. The demand for housing proved so intense that the lots were quickly built upon with small houses for nearly identical appearance, primarily in Greek Revival and Italianate Styles. By the mid-1880s, with land no longer available, the single-family character of the neighborhood was broken up by buildings of three or four stories, a practice that continued until the turn of the 20th Century. With no predetermined development plan, Back Central grew organically, conforming to the topography and random sale of lots.
Although the earliest residents of Back Central were Yankees, by the Civil War years the neighborhood had become an attractive destination for Irish-Catholics, followed in subsequent years by people of Portuguese, Armenian, Polish, Italian, Brazilian and Lithuanian heritage.
Population: 5,643 (Census 2000)
Median Household Income: $23,729 (1999 Dollars)
Parks and Recreation
- Father Grillo Park
- Hales Brook
- Oliveria Park
- Rotary Park
- South Common
- South Common Historic District
- Walmesit Canal-Whipple Mill
- Colburn School, 138 Lawrence Street. Built in 1848.
- Butler School, 812 Gorham Street. Built in 1882.
- Back Central Neighborhood Association (BCNA). BCNA meets the third Thursday of every month at St. Anthony's Church (893 Central Street) at 7:00 p.m. For more information, contact David Koch at Koch9@verizon.net