At Kenmore Square, three main throughways - Commonwealth Avenue, Beacon Street, and Brookline Avenue - all converge into a lively congestion of shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs, and educational institutions. Boston University, only a block away, drives the area's economy. From the square just south down Brookline Avenue is Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Kenmore Square is easily reachable by way of the MBTA green line, which emerges from Boston's underground subway at Kenmore Square.
Prior to 1932, Kenmore Square was known as Governor's Square, and even earlier than that, as Sewall's Point when this area marked the only actual land in the area and the Back Bay as we now know it was simply a tidal salt marsh.
Adding to Kenmore Square's already bustling student population is the New England School of Photography, located in the heart of Kenmore Square. The university's student housing is scattered throughout the area, an apparent reason for the heavy concentration of music stores, alternative rock and dance clubs, and relatively inexpensive restaurants and cafes found here.
Novelty shops and clothing stores like The Gap draw students and tourists to Kenmore Square. The area's largest bookstore, Barnes and Noble at Boston University, is also centrally located in the square and serves students from surrounding universities and colleges, as well as tourists and residents. The bookstore is housed in what was once the Peerless Motor Car Building of 1911. This automobile showroom became the first in an 'automobile row' which stretched from Kenmore Square to the what was once called Packard's Corner.
The Peerless Motor Car Building is more famous, however, for what adores its rooftop. A giant neon sign advertising CITGO gas towers above the building as a beacon to Kenmore Square. A product of the 1960s, the triangular sign's predominantly blue and red colors are visible at night and can be seen all along the Charles River and from other parts of the city.
In 1983, Kenmore Square nearly lost its famous sign if not for the efforts of a band of citizens and preservationist who petitioned the Boston Landmarks Commission to save their local icon. Although the commission did not declare the sign a landmark, the publicity surrounding the CITGO sign did cause its owner to preserve and restore Kenmore Square's treasured asset.
Another local attraction in the Kenmore Square area is Fenway Park. When the Red Socks are in town you can expect droves of baseball fans to pack Kenmore Square,its restaurants, and its bars, thus adding to the commotion and buzz.
Every May, thousands of walkers will make their way through the square during Boston's 20-mile Walk for Hunger. On Patriot's Day, 15,000 official participants run through Kenmore Square in the last leg of the world's oldest annual marathon, The Boston Marathon, before they reach the finish line on Commonwealth Avenue. Millions of spectators from all over the world come to watch the race, many choosing the ideal and congested spot known as Kenmore Square.
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