BOSTON (CBS) – Bob Andrews is 71 and has lived in Boston his entire life. His first home, and still his most cherished, was located in Boston’s West End.
He remembers the exact spot.
“Go up Lomasney Way, heading toward the Science Museum and around the corner on Auburn Street. and that is where there is probably one of ugliest buildings I’ve ever seen in my life,” Andrews told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Read-Listen: Boston’s Lost Landmarks Series
His family moved to Dorchester in 1955. He was eleven and missed the fabric of his old neighborhood.
“This neighborhood had 23 ethnic divisions within a 50-acre plot of land, and everybody got along,” he reminiscences.
Andrews remembers the eviction as incredibly painful. “It was absolutely awful. Many people were given a little more than a month to move out. It was absurd,” he said.
Joe Greenburg also grew up in the West End. He moved to Revere in 1957. He was 13 at the time and says he would take a train to his old neighborhood and watch as it was being demolished.
He recalls fire escapes being torn down, the insides of apartments visible as outside walls were ripped away. It didn’t hit him, he says, until all that was left was rubble.
“I stood there and I looked. I was on Charles Street. You know the sign that says if you lived here you’d be home now?” he asks. “Well if you lived there, that’s where my tenement was.”
“So I looked and there’s the St. Joseph’s Church in front of me and I figured it would probably take me 45 seconds to walk from Charles Street to the church, and then I looked west and east, from the Mass General over to North Station and I realized if I had walked from there to there, it would probably take me a minute. That’s when I started crying, just bawling, only because at that moment I realized how sheltered my life had been. My entire existence, except for summers occasionally at Revere Beach, was on this postage stamp which was the entire world to me, and I grew up that day, at least a little bit, because it told me that there was a much bigger world out there than this little postage stamp,” he told WBZ.
Joe Greenburg now volunteers at the West End Museum and we’ll pay a visit there in part three.
Listen to Part 2