The Last Tenement: Exhibit

A guided tour of the West End Museum’s permanent exhibit, including their photographs, artifacts and archival materials that tell the story of the immigrant experience in the west end through the urban renewal of the 1960s and the displacement of the people there.

“The Last Tenement” exhibition, originally set up in 1992 at the Old State House by the Bostonian Society through a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities and relocated to the West End Museum in 2006, is now permanently housed in its own dedicated 1100 square foot space.

The exhibit documents the history of the West End during the immigrant era from 1850 to 1958 – its topographical history, its architecture, its nineteenth-century blooming as a desirable residential area, its evolution into a densely populated urban district of working-class immigrants and a small community of middle-class professionals and students over twenty different ethnic backgrounds. The West End also is known nationally to generations of students of urban planning and sociology as a textbook example of negative results from the 1950s federal urban renewal program. The lesson learned from the razing of Boston’s West End have instructed city planners and spurred neighborhood activists to cope more successfully with urban problems.