Boston's West End: Today and Yesterday

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Boston's West End neighborhood was largely demolished in 1956 as a result of an "urban renewal" project. To city planners, the neighborhood was blighted, congested, and unhygenic, but to hundreds of "West Enders," it was a vibrant, diverse community. Most importantly, it was their home. The West End was the first home in America for many European immigrants who had come to the United States in the mid-19th century. In the West End, they found the stability they had lost in their home countries. Generations later, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren were uprooted from the homes and community they built in the West End. While few buildings survive from the original West End neighborhood, former residents have kept the memory of the West End alive through the the West End Museum. Staffed by former West Enders, the community museum tells the story of the West End, and collects and preserves artifacts, photos, documents, and oral histories about the neighborhood. Importantly, the museum also serves as a meeting place for the displaced West Enders. 

 

This map attempts to tell some of the stories of the West End, and allows users to compare and contrast the original neighbhorhood with the modern geography of the area. The information, stories, images, and artifacts displayed throughout the map are sourced largely from the collections of the West End Museum.