EST 1973

3 North Square
Boston, MA 02113
P 617.523.0077
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Sunday - Thursday
5pm - 10pm
Friday & Saturday
5pm - 11pm

BOSTON’S MOST AUTHENTIC ITALIAN RESTAURANT

History

One of the most memorable features of Mamma Maria is the wonderful and striking view of downtown Boston. Our restaurant sits on a small hill overlooking the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal a dramatic panorama contrasting the Boston skyline with the cobblestones of North Square -- the oldest public square in America -- and home to many pivotal figures in American history: Cotton Mather in the 17th century, Paul Revere in the 18th, Charles Dickens and Honey Fitz in the 19th century and Rose Kennedy in the 20th century.

Chronicles of North Square and Environs

Date Details
1634 North Boston settled by Sir Richard Hawkins. A market is established at North Square (also known at various times in the past as Frizel’s, Clark’s and Market Square).
1635 The streets around North Square are the first in Boston to be formally laid out – they become today’s Fleet, Richmond, Cross, and Union Streets.
1649 Second Church (Old North Meeting House) organized. North Square developed.
1650 Church completed. First sermon preached there in June.
1654 Red Lyon tavern established at the corner of Fish Street and Wood Lane (present day North and Richmond Streets). Nicholas Upshall, keeper.
1673 Moon Street resident Captain Thomas Kemble condemned to stand in the stocks for two hours for lewd and unseemly conduct. After a three- year absence, he had “saluted” (kissed) his wife on their doorstep on the Sabbath day.
1676 Great Fire destroys the Old North Meeting House, several warehouses, and forty-five dwellings, including Increase Mather’s parsonage. “Large flakes of fire” are carried as far as Charlestown.
1677 Old North Meeting House rebuilt.
c. 1680 A fine new house constructed on the site of Increase Mather’s parsonage. In 1681 this home is sold to Robert Howard, merchant. Ninety years later, Paul Revere purchases this dwelling. Today it still stands in North Square and is Boston’s oldest residence.
1682 First colonial Custom House established at the northeast corner of Fish Street and Wood Lane (today’s North and Richmond Streets).
1683 Eight residents purchase a fire engine for the North End.
1691 King's Head Inn, on the northwest corner of Fleet and Ship (now North) Streets, burns and is rebuilt.
1693 Fainting and swooning, Mercy Short is tormented by the devil at North Meeting House on a Sunday.
1694 Timothy and Susannah Wadsworth, innkeepers, mark the Red Lyon Inn (where Cirace's Liquor Store now stands) with their initials, "T. S." and the date -- 7694.
1701-1708 The Kemble house becomes the first writing school in the North End, with Captain and Mrs. Kemble's daughter, Mrs. Sarah Knight, as teacher. Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Mather will later attend this school.
1708 Sun Court Street, Moon Street, Garden Court Street and Bell Alley (now Prince Street) are named.
1711 Colonel Thomas Hutchinson inherits the John Foster Mansion on Garden Court Street. His son, Thomas Hutchinson, later governor of Massachusetts, resides there until the Revolution. Clark Mansion, on the corner of Garden Court Street and North Square, is built. Clark, a wine merchant, builds his house to vie with the Hutchinsons. Moses Pierce's mother builds a house two doors away from what is now the Paul Revere House.
1714 New North Meeting House is built, a commodious wooden building on North (now Hanover) Street. Rebuilt in 1803 by architect: Charles Bulfinch, this church is now known as St. Stephen's.
1721 New North Brick Church on Middle (now Hanover) Street built by congregants protesting the selection of a new minister at New North. Shem Drowne crafts a gilded cockerel weathervane for the spire. (Drowne later makes the grasshopper wearthervane for Faneuil Hall.) The cockerel weathervane, symbolizing the cock that crowed the morning after Peter denied Christ three times, served as a warning to the faithful.
1723 Disturbance occurs at the installation of Peter Thacher at New North Church, "so great it could no1 be regularly performed."
1734 Town of Boston appropriates £300 for erecting three permanent market buildings, one each in North Square, Dock Square and in the South End near Boylston Street. All three markets open on June 4. A bell rings for opening at sunrise and closing at one PM. Clark's Square becomes known as North Square when a market is established there. Many citizens oppose fixed markets due to fears of increased prices and that fixed markets may be a precursor to the establishment of the Anglican Church.
1737 A mob of men with blackened faces, some of whom are dressed as clergy, saw support posts; of the market house in North Square at midnight.
1765 In retaliation for the Stamp Act, a mob attacks and sacks Governor Thomas Hutchinson's mansion on Garden Court Street, scattering historical papers.
1770 Triangular in shape, North Square is cobbled with beach pebbles and features a town pump, public market and guardhouse. British troops are quartered in houses surrounding the square. Paul Revere purchases the former Howard house.
1771 Paul Revere illuminates drawings in the windows of his house to mark the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre. “Thousands" view the spectacle from North Square and are "struck with a solemn silence, and their countenances covered with a melancholy gloom" according lo a period newspaper.
1774 Revere attends a meeting to advise the city on the location of street lights in North Boston. On March 2, 310 street lights in Boston are lit for the first time. A twenty-pound fine is levied for damage to a lamp. Selectmen are empowered to remove posts or signs that block light from the lamps, and order the owners to take them down. If not removed in 48 hours, owners are fined six shillings for every 24 hours the obstructions remain in place. Boston's population is 16,000.
1775 Captain Atkins, a neighbor of Paul Revere, assists British troops in taking down Old North Meeting House for firewood to supply the transports sailing to England with the sick. Some suspect that the Meeting House was razed in part to make space for drilling troops. British abandon heavy guns and howitzers at Copp's Hill after the battle of Bunker Hill.
1786 The site of the Old North Meeting House is purchased by Dr. John Lathrop, who builds a "fine house" there. Five retail liquor licenses are held by North Square proprietors.
1788 Clark's Square is officially renamed North Square.
7789 A market for selling wood is established in North Square replacing the food market.
1798 Tax list reveals that 70 percent of the houses in the square are wooden rather than brick. Houses average 400-800 square feet.
1815 Gale destroys elm trees planted at the site of the Old North Meeting House.
1824 Wood Lane renamed Richmond Street
1828 The Port Society for the City of Boston founds a Seamen's Bethel "for the moral and religious instruction of seamen" in the old Methodist chapel in Methodist Alley near North Square. The Rev. Edward Thompson Taylor, a former sailor, is hired as preacher.
1832 The Kimble House on Moon Street is demolished, and is replaced by a tobacco warehouse.
1833 Seamen's Bethel (present day Sacred Heart Church) constructed by the Boston Port Society. The Bethel includes a reading room for self-improvement, a school for sailors (navigation) and a union to hear grievances against masters and owners of vessels. The Seamen's Aid Society is founded by Sarah Josepha Hale and a number of other society ladies of Boston to assist the wives and daughters of sailors while their husbands and fathers are away at sea.
1834 Hutchinson mansion, on Garden Court Street, is taken down. Store opened on the ground floor of the Bethel to sell goods made by seamen's wives and daughters.
1836 Free school for seamen's daughters established at the Bethel - academic subjects and needlework are taught.
1838 The firm of James Martin and Son established. The company manufactures awnings, flags, tents, sails and horse goods at its factory aI89-97 Richmond Street.
1845 Irish immigrants, driven out of their homeland by successive years of partial or complete failures of the potato crop, begin to arrive in large numbers. Unitarians build new church on the site of the New Brick (Cockerel) Church. Ward 2 (eastern half of the North End) averages 1j .19 inhabitants per house (10.57 city wide).
1847 Martner's House moves from rented quarters to a new building on North Square on March 24. Founded ten years earlier, the Marirrer's House provides temporary lodging for sailors waiting to ship out. The new building includes a store, smoking and reading room, and a chapel. c. 1848 North End Mission opens at 201 North Street to provide food and clothing for the poor.
1849 Cholera devastates the North End and other sections of the city. Mortality is especially high in the Irish districts, forcing the city to appoint a committee to investigate the causes of the epidemic. The committee recommends tearing down the worst tenements and slums, and cleansing the streets with water piped in from the suburbs.
1850s Jewish immigrants begin settling in the North End.
1860s Many Scandinavians, mostly transient sailors, live in boarding houses in or near North Square.
1860s St. John’s Hall on Moon Street serves as a social club for Irish immigrants.
1862 James Fitzgerald, the uncle of John F. "Honey Fitz', Fitzgerald (grandfather of President John F. Kennedy) purchases a grocery store at 310 North Street.
1869 "Great Gale" of September damages the Old Cockerel Church on Hanover Street, blowing down its gilded rooster weather vane.
1870s A cholera epidemic sweeps through the North End. Portuguese immigrants begin to settle in the neighborhood. Many are from the Azores, a group of islands in the center of the Atlantic Ocean dependent on Portugal.
1871 The Unitarian Church, on the site of the old Cockerel Church, is torn down for the widening of Hanover Street.
1873 The "Cockerel" weathervane purchased by the First Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1870s and 1880s Italian immigrants, primarily from northern Italy, begin to settle in the North End.
1870s Hotel Sorrenro is constructed at the corner of North Street and North Square (now Rachel Revere Park).
1882 John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, later the first American born Irish mayor of Boston, works as a tour guide in the North End.
1883 Rev. Soloman E. Breen of the Mariner's House on North Square reports that there were over 140 rum shops in the small area bounded by Hanover, Richmond, North and Clark Streets.
1884 Seamen’s Bethel sold to an Italian religious organization, the Societa Cattolica Italiana di San Marco (Society of St. Mark's).
1885 Matthew Keany, the Irish "boss" of the North End, owns a grocery store at One Prince Street.
1888 The former Seamen’s Bethel remodeled as the Sacred Heart Church.
1889 "Honey Fitz" and his bride, Mary Josephine Hannon, move to 4 Garden Court Street.
1890 Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, later Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, born at 4 Garden Court Street.
1891 Records indicate that 154 families in the North End are living in one-room flats.
1903 St. John's School opens.
1906 North Square has four banks (Berradini, Forte, Stabile and Ferrulo). North Square customarily crowded with laborers waiting for padrones to offer them work at construction sites or farms in Maine or New Hampshire. Workers transported in horse-drawn wagons.
1907-08 Paul Revere House restored and opened, to the public as a museum.
1915 Boston’s wholesale vegetable and fruit market operates at the corner of Richmond Street and Atlantic Ave. Simon the Jewish tailor and Caruso's grocery are situated at the corner of Richmond and North Streets. Johnny lannaco establishes one o I the first pastry shops in the Nor.th End next door to the Paul Revere House.
1919 Marines guard the Paul Revere House during the Boston Police Strike.
1927 Grande’s barber shop located at the corner of Prince and North Streets.
1928 A major brawl occurs in front of the Hotel Rex (formerly the Hotel Italia) over the issue of whether the Taurasi area of Campania grew larger lemons than Sicily. A stiletto duel ensued.
1945 Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Lithuanian immigrants begin to arrive.
1950 Outdoor altar is set up in North Square for a procession in honor of St. Rosalie, patron saint of Palermo, Sicily.
1960s Returning from East Boston, Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Symphony orchestra stops to conduct an impromptu concert on Hanover Street.
1963 Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Sacred Heart Church with an outdoor mass in North Square.
1992 A forty-sixth anniversary celebration of the proclamation of the Italian Republic is held in North Square. The celebration includes parades, speeches and music.
1995 Portions of the movie Mrs. Winterbourne filmed in North Square. On July 2 a procession and concert in honor of St. Dominic is held in North Square. On August 6 a six-foot bronze sculpture by local artist Richard Aliberti is donated to Sacred Heart Church by Frank and Jean Privitera. The statue is dedicated to Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini, founder of the Italian missionary movement c. 1900.
Thanks to the Paul Revere Memorial Association for this history of North Square.


by ICS