Student Welcome Guide: Welcome to…Parker Hill?: A guide to Mission Hill place names

September 6, 2013
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Welcome to the neighborhood! You just moved to Mission Hill—but did you know you’re actually on Parker Hill? You’ve probably already noticed the spires of Mission Church—which technically isn’t called that, either. And why’s the post office called Roxbury Crossing?

Understanding the lingo of Mission Hill can seem like “Mission: Impossible.” Here’s a cheat sheet to help you out.

Back of the Hill: A subneighborhood of Mission Hill on the slope between Fisher Avenue and Heath Street. There is no Front of the Hill.

Brigham Circle: The intersection of Huntington Avenue with Tremont and Francis Street (plus Calumet Street for good measure). It is not a rotary or circle, though the City recently painted a huge circle on the asphalt as a decorative pedestrian crossing marker.

Longwood Medical Area: Aka, the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. “LMA” for short. The enormous complex of hospitals and colleges roughly bordered by Huntington Avenue, Francis Street, the Riverway and the Fenway. Named for Longwood Avenue, which runs through its heart.

Mission Church: The Catholic church at 1545 Tremont St. for which Mission Hill is named. It is officially called the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Its nickname comes from its 1870s beginnings as a small mission by the Redemptorists Catholic order. The official name comes an icon that believers say heals sickness and is surrounded by discarded crutches of the healed. A basilica is a high-ranking Catholic church.

Mission Hill: “The Hill” for short. The neighborhood bordered by Huntington, Ruggles Street, Columbus Avenue/Tremont Street, Heath Street and S. Huntington Avenue; and also the residential area roughly bordered by Huntington, Francis and the Riverway. Some people still use “Mission Hill” to refer only to the residential area on the actual hill.

Parker Hill: The actual hill on which most of the neighborhood sits.

Roxbury Crossing: The intersection of Columbus and Tremont. It is the name of an Orange Line MBTA station and the local branch post office for the 02120 ZIP code. Sometimes used as a name for a subneighborhood or even the entire neighborhood. But ZIP code names are not meant to reflect actual neighborhood names or boundaries. Large portions of Mission Hill have other ZIP codes.

Roxbury: The neighborhood on the other side of Columbus. Mission Hill was historically a subneighborhood of Roxbury, but has emerged as its own neighborhood over the past 20 years. Many people consider it part of Roxbury.

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