When Rose Miller bought her current home on Oscar Street in 1997, she knew that she was returning to a changing neighborhood.
“People would tell me, ‘Don’t buy [a house] in Mission Hill,’” she said. “But I thought, ‘Well eventually the neighborhood was going to change,’” Miller said. “But I didn’t expect it to change the way it is now.”
Miller grew up in the Mission Hill Housing Projects, an affordable housing apartment complex once situated on Parker Street during the 1980s. After the projects were renovated and its low-income tenants were displaced, Miller recalled a shift felt by the entire Mission Hill community.
“It brought out another class of people. People [were] very proud of their renting space. Their grass was nice and green, their children could play out in the yard,” Miller said.
Though Miller is a Mission Hill native, she also considers herself part of this new wave of homeowners. Her house is just one short block away from the Parker Street projects where she once lived.
Now, after 22 years of owning her home, Miller sometimes feels nostalgic for the Mission Hill of her childhood.
“I don’t know any of the people that live behind me, or to the right or the left of me,” Miller said. “From what I understand, they’re students… but nobody has ever come to say ‘Hi, how’s it going?’”
In Miller’s eyes, what Mission Hill has gained in prosperity, it has lost in community. Sitting in the Butterfly Coffee Shop next to the Roxbury Crossing station, she greets the waiter cleaning a table nearby.
“Hello, what’s your name? My name’s Rose,” she said. The waiter whispers a greeting then quickly returns to the kitchen.
“See? Just something as simple as that,” Miller said. “It’s not a community anymore, it’s just people living here.”