Bostonia has been kind enough to direct his readers to The City Record and Boston News-Letter in the quest for information on Boston's first Front Street, although I made my original comment here in response to another blog's observation about Boston's lack of a Front Street. Confused? Just another day on the web, with so many people talking amongst themselves it can sometimes be hard to just drop in on the conversation.
Boston has had two Front Streets. The first Front Street was in the North End along the water, and dates to the earliest days of the town. It was renamed by the early 18th century, and was in the area of present day North Street. The second Front Street. the subject of the post I responded to, ran along the waters of South Bay (follow the Fort Point Channel inland) in the 1800s and was quite content being known as Front Street until William Henry Harrison caught pneumonia and died within weeks of being inaugurated President in 1841. Front Street was renamed in his honor a few weeks after his death.
From the Record of Streets, published by the Street Laying Out Department (Boston, 1910)
Front Street, Boston, the oldest name of the present North Street; called also at the same time Fore Street. [Front Street was renamed by the time John Bonner made his 1722 map, ed.]
Front Street, Boston, 1805; from Beach Street to South Boston Bridge (now Dover Street); extended to Essex Street, through Rainsford Lane or Street, July 6, 1824; continuation to the dike laid out conditionally, June 3, 1834; street next the dike (sometimes called Dyke Street) extending from Joshua Davis's land to Northampton Street, named Front Street, September 15, 1834; new street from South Boston Bridge to connect with street lately made from Northampton Street, over City land to easterly end of the dike opened for travel, June, 1836; from Northampton Street to Roxbury line accepted and known as continuation of Front Street, June, 1836; name of Front Street changed to Harrison Avenue, April 26, 1841.