Old Harbor Housing Project

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The Old Harbor Housing Project, formally known as the Mary Ellen McCormack Project, is a housing project opposite Joe Moakley Park in South Boston, Massachusetts.


Built in 1936, and opened on May 1, 1938, the Old Harbor Village was the first public housing development in New England and it remains one of the largest.[1][2] It comprises more than 1,000 apartments in 22 three-story buildings and 152 row houses. The complex was renamed after the mother of John W. McCormack, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who championed housing and human rights.[3]

The Project is best known for being the housing project where James "Whitey" Bulger grew up,[4] and a neighborhood "where court-ordered desegregation of schools through busing led to hostility and violence in the 1970s".[5] The housing project itself was under a HUD approved desegregation plan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vale, Lawrence J., From the Puritans to the projects: public housing and public neighbors, Harvard University Press, 2000. Cf. especially pp.175-176 & various on Old Harbor Village history.
  2. ^ "South Boston preservation study". Internet Archive. September 15, 1982. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Mary Ellen McCormack (Housing)", Boston Housing Authority website
  4. ^ "Senate president: A mix of family, Southie, power", The Boston Globe, September 18, 1988
  5. ^ Gold, Allan R., "First Blacks Moving to Boston Project", The New York Times, July 02, 1988

Further reading[edit]

  • Kerstein, Milton Lewis, Old Harbor Housing Project: A study of development of public housing policy, 1930-1938 (University of Massachusetts Boston. Theses. History - M.A), 1981
  • Leland, Joseph D., Specification for construction of superstructure for Old Harbor Village, Project no. H-3302, Boston, Massachusetts, Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, Housing Division (1936)
  • "Boston's First Public Housing Development: The Mary Ellen McCormack", LP REEL NEWS, Volume Four, Spring 2003, Lamont Productions, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Coordinates: 42°19′37″N 71°03′18″W / 42.327°N 71.055°W / 42.327; -71.055