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Well what had happened was that some entrepreneurs thought it would be a great idea to utilize the water in the back bay to create energy; so they could use that energy to power mills to create clothing, which was the key trade in New England in the 19th century.
Tons of people invested in this project, which involved building dams all over the Back bay so the water could flow in one section and out the other and thus push a mill and create energy. But the project, in short, failed miserably mostly because the different sections of the Back bay didn’t provide enough pressure to actually power anything. It became relatively stagnant and a real eye sore and people started building roads over it anyway.
So the area of the Back Bay was owned by three different entities (being Boston, Roxbury, and the State). One of those entities, I believe the state, decided to fill in their portion of the area so they could sell the land to real estate people and make money off of otherwise completely useless property. The other entities followed suit.
tl;dr: The area known as the Back Bay before it was filled in had become a stagnant pool of filth and so to make some money off of otherwise useless land the owners filled it in and sold it.