Mattapan Facts

Mattapan Facts is where you can locate information about what makes Mattapan the unique neighborhood that it is as well as gain historical background on the community.


Mattapan History

  • Mattapan was originally the territory of the Neponsett tribe of the Massachusetts confederation of Native Americans
  • Mattapan was named by the Native American tribes that once lived in this area. It means “a good place to be” or a “good place to sit”, perhaps because the Neponset River runs through it and at the time it must have been so rife with nature that it provided plenty of natural resources while inviting people to sit and contemplate the beauty of the place.

  •  For most of the 20th century, Mattapan was inhabited by white ethnic communities such as Jewish and Irish.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the community underwent dramatic demographic shifts, mirroring similar changes happening in other large urban centers throughout the United States, whereby white communities that had long lived in Mattapan began moving out to Boston’s suburbs, while significant numbers of African-Americans began moving into the neighborhood.  

  • During the 1980s an increasing number of Haitians moved into Mattapan, eventually making this area one of the most important centers of Haitian cultural, social, and political life
  • Jubilee Christian Church is Boston's largest Protestant Church.
  • Jubilee Christian Church was founded in 1982 and was formerly known as the New Covenant Christian Center.
  • Today, Mattapan is what many African-Americans, Haitians, Jamaicans and many other Caribbean and African immigrants call home.

  • 80% of Mattapan is of African descent, and it constitutes the highest concentration of Haitians and Jamaicans in the state of Massachusetts.

  • Mattapan is blessed with a core number of long-term residents that lend the neighborhood great cohesion and stability.

  • Increase S. Smith founded the Mattapan Library Association. On May 2, 1854, the Boston Public Library opened, and in 1870 the suburb of Dorchester, which included Mattapan, was annexed to Boston. The Mattapan Branch evolved over many years beginning with a reading room attached to the delivery station in the Oakland Hall Building in Mattapan. In 1898, the book collection consisted of ninety-eight volumes.

  • The Hazelton Street branch served the neighborhood well for more than 75 years, but with the formation of a Mattapan Library Task Force, the procurement of necessary funding in 1997, and the perseverance of Mayor Thomas Menino and Councilor Charles Yancey a new chapter began. On February 28, 2009 the Mattapan community celebrated the opening of an architecturally-stunning, technologically enhanced, and service-rich new Mattapan Branch at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.


Watch this video to learn more about the new Mattapan health Center: