BOSTON (CBS) – Stop by Boston’s West End Museum and it feels like a high school reunion. Volunteers and visitors will often reminisce about their old neighborhood.
Read-Listen: Boston’s Lost Landmarks Series
Joe Greenberg is a prime example.
He currently lives in Brookline after moving back to the Boston area from Washington DC eleven years ago. He volunteers at the museum on a regular basis and remembers his old stomping ground, not as a slum, as labeled by urban renewal proponents, but as a diverse and tight knit neighborhood.
“So on the first floor in the front, there were two Chinese brothers, the next floor was my mother’s best friend, Rose, who was Italian. Behind her was a woman from the Ukraine. On the top floor, Eva Gervais, who was Greek,” he recalled to WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Walk through the West End Museum and you will see a pinball machine, a sewing machine, and a Speedy sled.
Tour guide Bruce Garino remembers using a Speedy sled.
“We would go coasting down the hill to Cambridge Street, in the winter time, that’s when snow was fun,” he told WBZ.
He points to a wall display that reads “Rat Day.”
“Rat Day, yes. They would offer a $50 prize for the person bringing in the greatest amount of dead rats to the city’s various sanitary yards. And back in those days that kind of money bought in a lot of groceries,” Garino said.
There are old Boston Garden seats. West End photos line the walls, depicting the neighborhood before and after the demolition.
Last fall, 60 years after the West End was razed, Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Brian Golden showed up for a museum exhibit opening and apologized on the city’s behalf.
Bob Andrews, another former West Ender and museum volunteer, thinks there are lessons to be learned and he wants people to visit.
“Hopefully they will get a good idea of what it was all about and how it was destroyed and hope it never happens again.”
Coming up in part four, the last tenement.
Listen to Part 3