The West End
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The West End

[West End map]It was a crowded, close-knit neighborhood originally settled by immigrants right on the water. But unlike the North End, the West End was about to die.

In the name of progress, and with federal money in hand, the city had declared the West End "blighted" and decided to level it - so it could be replaced by luxury high rises (those "If You Lived Here You'd Be Home Now" things at the end of Storrow Drive) and so Massachusetts General Hospital could expand.

By 1960, an entire neighborhood of 7,000 people no longer existed.

Today, only a few vestiges of the old neighborhood remain, almost like ghosts reminding us of what once was - the West End public library, St. Joseph's Church and the West End House in Brighton.

But the memories remain strong. Besides the displaced people, the destruction of the West End profoundly affected the rest of the city. as Derrick Jackson wrote in the Boston Globe, residents of other neighborhoods refused to be railroaded like their West End counterparts - so that people in East Boston successfully stopped the expansion of Logan Airport, and residents of other neighborhoods helped prevent the division of the city by the proposed I-95 extension.

Here are some other links about the West End:

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