Event Notices

Revisit the West End’s Demolition Through the Eyes of a Young Construction Worker

Join the West End Museum on Thursday, December 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to hear a firsthand account of the demolition of the West End from Tom Hynes, an individual who spent his college summers working on the West End demolition team for Duane Wrecking.

Thomas Hynes, Jr.

Hynes will speak about his memories—the sights, smells, sounds, and feelings he experienced—and share personal photographs he took in the midst of the backbreaking, grueling work. This free event will also feature a Q&A session, and light refreshments will be served.

Hynes describes the work as grueling process. “My first day on the job was torture. I nearly collapsed with the work of pulling scrap iron out of the burning inferno of debris on the site. Tripping over brick bats as the bulldozer pushed the debris into the fire—creating acrid smoke and an occasional muffled explosion. I was oblivious to the fact that the debris had been someone’s home just a few months before. I can imagine the old West End would now be a thriving multi-cultural neighborhood had urban renewal not taken its toll.”

Photo courtesy of Tom Hynes, Jr.

Tom Hynes is now co-chairman and chief executive officer of Colliers International’s Boston office, a full-service commercial real estate firm. He is the nephew of former Boston Mayor John B. Hynes, first cousin to the late “dean of Boston TV news” Jack Hynes, and second cousin to developer John Hynes of Boston Global Investors.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Replies to “Revisit the West End’s Demolition Through the Eyes of a Young Construction Worker

  1. As a former West Ender, why would I want to torture myself by reliving the destruction of my home. This demolition didn’t care if they shut our water off, or started to wreck your building while you still lived on the lower floors. Tore down beautiful churches. It was all about greed and prime location. Many of the elderly died of fear, as this was the only home they knew, where were they going to go and live. Take a toll and see how many of us want to relive the heartbreaking of destroying our homes. They called it a slum, what slum do u know that had beautiful chandeliers, steam heat, full baths, etc. I was young when we had to vacate, but I believe Mayor Hynes had his foot into the destruction, he was of no help to the wonderful neighborhood that will always be my home. Where’s the low income they promised us, when they rebuilt, Mr. Hynes?

  2. From Susan Hanson, Director of The West End Museum:

    We welcome all civil responses to the Museum’s plan to host Tom Hynes, who worked on a demolition crew in the West End when he was a college student. Mr. Hynes, a respected and accomplished real estate professional in Boston, has a compelling story to tell, one with details that we have not heard among the many accounts we have welcomed to the Museum over the years. Mr. Hynes’ recollections and his photographic account from this fateful time for the neighborhood contribute to the rich historic record that we seek to preserve and make available to the public, as one of the objectives of the Museum. Our December 6 program is not about politics or the failures associated with urban renewal, either nationally or in Boston. Questions and discussion in a respectful manner will follow Mr. Hynes’ presentation, as is customary with our programs, and those who attend may express their opinions. The program is open to the public. Please be aware that seating is limited. We look forward to seeing you.

Comments are closed.