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Quincy

A cleaner Boston Harbor has made Wollaston Beach a more desirable place in Quincy for families to visit. A cleaner Boston Harbor has made Wollaston Beach a more desirable place in Quincy for families to visit. (JOHN BOHN/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2007)
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June 22, 2008

THE GOODS The City of Presidents - Adams, father and son - has much history behind it, but these days Quincy seems more marked by dynamic change. An Asian community has opened a strong base in the northern part of town, Wollaston Beach has undergone a neat upgrade with the cleansing of Boston Harbor waters, and the deadly granite quarries have been filled in and built on with golf courses and private homes. Despite hosting big box stores in sprawling shopping yards, Quincy has active small business districts in the neighborhood centers along Route 3A. This remains a city of many pockets, with neighborhoods pointing this way and that into saltwater bays and rivers, while the Blue Hills Reservation provides a bucolic bookend at its western boundary. And, as Boston's big Southern neighbor, the city is well-marbled with bus, subway, and commuter rail service from the MBTA, as well as easy highway access for the car-bound.

PROS From grand manors on Presidents Hill, to humble abodes in Germantown, Quincy's housing options cover the universe. There is a large stock of solid spacious homes throughout, and no shortage of smaller or lesser-priced homes that have helped kept this city affordable to working-class families. With so many hilly sections near the wandering shoreline, even unassuming single-family homes can offer breathtaking water views. There are also condos and apartments in virtually every corner of the city. And Marina Bay has forged an identity of its own by virtue of its higher-end housing and retail environment.

CONS The school system is challenged, just as other districts, small and large, around the state. And the city's commerical base, which has been evolving from smokestack to high tech, still unsweetly dominates some neighborhoods. And can anyone tell us why a collection of oil tanks, like the smattering on Route 3A, are called tank farms? Where's the bucolic amidst the metal?

JOHN R. ELLEMENT

Quincy

Median home prices: Single-family homes, $325,000; condominiums $245,000

Residential tax rate: $10.83

Average tax bill: $3,846

Choice location: Wollaston Beach. Urban oceanfront offers park-and-go access to the sea, and a boulevard from a throwback era for crusin' on a Saturday night.

Cocktail party nugget: Birthplace of two great American actresses, Ruth Gordon and Lee Remick.

SOURCES: Warren Group, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Globe.

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