Announcements Event Notices

Reflections on Boston’s West End Lecture Series: Urban Renewal & the People of the West End Demolition

The West End Museum is hosting a lecture series titled “Reflections on Boston’s West End: The Origins & Lessons of Urban Renewal.”

The first talk in the series will be “Urban Renewal & the People of the West End Demolitionon Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

$20 per lesson ($10 for members and students)
$120 for entire lecture series ($60 Museum members and students)
Pre-registration required

Urban Renewal & the People of the West End Demolition
Explore the story of the clearance and redevelopment of the West End and the people at the heart of those events. The rich mix of families that filled the dense, winding streets of the neighborhood comprised about 7,500 residents from more than 20 different ethnic and racial groups, including Italian, Jewish, Irish, and African-American. Their backgrounds, hopes, and aspirations will be considered along with the vision for the city and the motivations of the key players who sought to build a new, supposedly better Boston by tearing down the West End.

About the Series
Attendees will learn how an entire Boston neighborhood vanished, displacing about 7,500 people who called it home. Tenement houses with mom-and-pop storefronts fell to the wrecking ball, ultimately to be replaced by high-rises with professed suburban amenities, all in the name of progress. The destruction of the West End came to be seen as a landmark case in urban planning circles. Its simplistic, top-down approach became a textbook example of how NOT to transform a city. As Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Series presenter James Briand has worked with The West End Museum since 2009, developing classroom presentations and tours on various topics including urban renewal, the work of Jane Jacobs, the 1949 Housing Act, and Title One. Briand has authored numerous articles on local history and is a lifelong resident of the Boston area