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Boston City Archives

Blog Posts

At the Boston City Archives alongside our research on the Peabody House, each team member chose a different photograph to write a short blog post about. Each blog was published on Boston's official website, boston.gov. The topics of the blogs range from bowling alleys to urban redevelopment to pet shows to children's healthcare!

From BCA flickr .jpg

February 13, 2020

REMEMBERING THE WEST END: AN INTRODUCTION TO A BOSTON CITY ARCHIVES BLOG SERIES

"Among the many transformations that Boston has undergone in its more than 300-year history, one of the most dramatic is the destruction of the West End in the late 1950s. Now known for its high rises, medical facilities, and TD Garden, the neighborhood’s past as a vibrant multi-ethnic, multi-religious immigrant enclave is one of the most poignant parts of  'Lost Boston...'"

To read more please click here

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Laura R. Prieto

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February 28, 2020

THE WEST END'S WASHINGTON SCHOOL: A LOOK AT BOSTON'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PAST AND PRESENT

"Boston's schools have always been an important part of the community! Early in the 20th century, Boston’s public school system expanded rapidly.

One of the new schools built to accommodate the expanding population was the Washington School, in the West End

Named for George Washington, and established in 1904, the school served a primarily immigrant population. By 1905, the City had created a “summer school” where children could come while their parents were working, and could participate in dance, gymnastics, or arts and crafts like sewing or woodwork..."

To read more please click here

Katie

Katie McCarver

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March 27, 2020

THE DEMOLITION OF THE WEST END

"In the 1950s, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) announced plans to "redevelop" the West End, a working-class, largely immigrant neighborhood. The BHA described the West End, a primarily residential area, as overcrowded.

 

Immigrants from Ireland and Southern and Eastern Europe made the West End their home beginning in the 1800s. At the time of the announcement in 1953, the BHA declared that 25 percent of West End residents were immigrants, mostly from Italy, Poland, and the U.S.S.R..."

To read more please click here

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Anna Boyles

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April 17, 2020

AFTER THE WEST END: THE FIGHT FOR BARRY'S CORNER

"Residents were arrested, tomatoes were thrown, furniture was tossed into the street. In a David-and-Goliath-esque standoff, a small Allston neighborhood banded together to save their community from destruction.

 

On Thanksgiving of 1964, residents of Barry’s Corner in Allston received letters that their homes were being seized by eminent domain to be torn down in an effort to redevelop the area.  By June of that year, most residents of Barry’s Corner had left to avoid eviction, and in August of 1965, the Boston Redevelopment Authority sent moving vans to forcibly evict those remaining..."

To read more please click here

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Sarah Carlon

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February 14, 2020

MEET EVA WHITING WHITE, THE WEST END'S PIONEERING SOCIAL WORKER

"Boston is a city known for its firsts. First subway, first public park, first public library, and unbeknownst to many, the first school training social workers.

The Boston School for Social Workers, now Simmons University’s School of Social Work, was the first institution in the United States to grant degrees in Social Work, pioneering education for a field that had yet to define itself when its first graduates walked in the door in 1904..."

To read more please click here.

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Jordan Ziese

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March 6, 2020

BOWLING ON THE LORD'S DAY: THE WEST END'S BOWLING ALLEYS

"If you put 15 Hanover Street into a GPS, it will bring you to the middle of a crosswalk looking toward Government Center, next to the Holocaust Memorial. On the street now buried underneath City Hall, there used to be a popular, fun spot: the Crawford Bowladrome, a seven-lane, 10-pin bowling alley.

Anthony D. Grande opened the Crawford Bowladrome on September 8, 1938. Bowling flourished as the Great Depression lifted, when American families were able to earn some more spending money and enjoy leisure activities..."

To read more please click here.

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Madeline Short

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April 3, 2020

THE WEST END: SLUM OR BUSTLING URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD?

"What characteristics do you think of when you hear the word "slum"? Deteriorated infrastructure? Closely packed? 

Does the photo above depict a slum or does it depict a bustling urban neighborhood? 

Looking at the images above, reflect on how you would identify a slum versus an urban center. The photograph above is from the West End prior to the neighborhood’s demolition, which proponents defended as urban renewal. The photo shows Cambridge Street looking northwest to Blossom Street around 1958..."

To read more please click here.

Noah

Noah Cabral

Lilli's post

February 21, 2020

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: THE ELIZABETH PEABODY HOUSE AND BOSTON’S WEST END

"From the outside, the Elizabeth Peabody House was an unassuming building in Boston’s West End, before the neighborhood was bulldozed in the late 1950s in the name of urban renewal. The facade was plain: just bricks and windows. Looking at the building on Charles Street, a passerby would not expect the bustling community space on the other side of those doors..."

To read more please click here

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Lilli Thorne

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March 20, 2020

THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER: URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE 1950'S

"The West End of Boston was once a diverse, bustling, working-class neighborhood of Boston. Then, in the 1950s, the Boston Housing Authority began tearing down entire streets and displacing thousands of people...

On the surface it seems like a typical 1950s Boston street. A bustling liquor store on the corner, cars lining the street, small groups of men having a smoke and a chat in gruff accents. Perhaps they are discussing the most pressing news of the day or maybe catching up after a busy week. This image becomes interesting when you look closer at the other storefront in the picture..."

To read more please click here

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Chloe Feuerstein

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April 10, 2020

EARLY STEPS TOWARDS UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE

"At the beginning of the twentieth century, interest in public health and child welfare grew. 

Local Boston physicians also began to recognize that public health needs were not being met. John and Mary Forsyth established the  Forsyth Institute to address some of these needs.

At its opening, Thomas Forsyth remarked, 'the Infirmary should be a home to the children, beautiful and cheerful; a protector of their health, a refuge in their pain...'"

To read more please click here

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Mavis Reardon

Simmons University

2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Coming soon

from

The Office of Student Research

Unless otherwise noted, all materials in this exhibit are from the Eva Whiting White papers, Simmons University Archives Manuscript Collection 022.  The images and text on this web site are made available for study purposes only. They may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Simmons University Archives.  For more information, please contact the University Archives at archives@simmons.edu.

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