The Vanishing of Boston’s West End

Well, it’s still there, it’s just ass ugly. In 1959, the West End of Boston, which had been declared a slum, was revitalized. Here’s what it looked like in 1958:

(from the West End Museum, Boston)

Here, it is, all 53 acres of it, plowed under in 1959:

(from the West End Museum, Boston)

And from 1971, here’s what replaced it:

(from the West End Museum, Boston)

I don’t mean to be pollyannaish about what the West End was like. But having walked around the remnants of the West End, what replaced it is so sterile. Architects of the 1960s and 1970s have so much to answer for: unlike so much of Boston, it just doesn’t work for people. The buildings are hideous and haven’t held up well over time.

For all the complaints one hears about gentrification, it beats the hell out of slum removal.

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1 Response to The Vanishing of Boston’s West End

  1. Yeah, I definitely have to concur with you there. It’s just a godawful part of town, with nothing to recommend it.

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