Boston's Neighborhood Museum 

Q2 2017
Dear Friend of The West End Museum,

We hope you had a wonderful albeit chilly Memorial Day full of fun and relaxation with family and friends, as well as the chance to reflect on and honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. military.

Here at The West End Museum, we're all about family, friends and community, and we revere the past while remaining present and keeping an eye on the future.
This newsletter embodies that philosophy as we ...

Share an interview with Ira Tarlin, who donated a collection of his family's photos that we've turned into our current exhibit,  Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord. Ira is the son of Eli Tarlin--a property owner and manager in the old West End.

Report on th e plethora of old West End property records now available for viewing and research through the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) [formerly the BRA], and announce our hope to find funding to digitize the entire collection.

Celebrate the naming of Joe McDonald as the Museum's new President and share a profile of this third-generation West Ender and longtime community activist.

Relate the story of our Jane's Walk West End Tour that took place on May 6th, led by local historian, West End resident and former Museum Director, Duane Lucia.
Enjoy, and we hope to see you or hear from you soon!

If you do enjoy our communications, exhibits and events, we hope you'll consider becoming a West End Museum member. If you're already a member, please help us spread the word about supporting our ongoing mission. Corporate and individual members  are always welcome (special rates for students and seniors) as are donations. Membership and donations are tax deductible.  

Remember to keep up and stay in touch with the Museum on our website and via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  
Thank you and best wishes!
Ira Tarlin:
Recollections from the Son of a
West End Landlord
By Tim Larson
Ira Tarlin viewing
Under the Wrecking Ball exhibit
For many years prior to the demolition of the West End, Ira Tarlin ran an extensive real estate business in the neighborhood. His story, and that of others who owned and managed properties in the community, is rarely told as part of
the urban renewal narrative. But, the fact is that they suffered greatly, receiving just pennies on the dollar for their buildings and enduring incredible hardships.
When Ira Tarlin, Eli's son, donated a small collection of his family's photographs to The West End Museum last summer, he gave the Museum the opportunity to convey that piece of the puzzle . The Tarlins were devastated by the loss of the West End and the resulting demise of the family business. Recently, Ira took time to share with us his family's history and memories the old neighborhood. What follows are highlights from that conversation.
Tell us about your father.
My dad was in the real estate business in the West End and owned property throughout the neighborhood. He was a broker, property manager, owner, auctioneer and appraiser. He grew up in Dorchester and worked with his father in the real estate business there, but his dad also had an office in the West End, so he became ... (continue reading here
City Makes Available Original Property Records from Old West End 
By Matt Ellis
According to City property records, the building at 13 Leverett St. in the old West End was owned by the Fisher family when the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) acquired it by eminent domain in 1959. Records now available for public review detail the history of the property dating back to 1837. This one piece of information is among millions of others contained in some 40 boxes of original acquisition records recently catalogued by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), the newly named BRA.
"I identified these boxes of records, recognized their significance and brought them to the attention of BPDA Executive Secretary Teresa Polhemus and Director Brian Golden" said Nate Smith, records manager for the BPDA. "Director Golden and Secretary Polhemus were both in favor of completing a full inventory of the files, sharing our findings with The West End Museum and making the records available to researchers."
"We were thrilled when we got the email from the BDPA informing us that these records had been found and catalogued--and that the City wanted to share them with the Museum, said West End Museum Executive Director Susan Hanson. "We want to help share these records with old West Enders and their families as well as with historians and students of history."
According to Smith, the files contain original and copied records of property purchases, deeds, appraisals, court actions and photos associated with ... (continue reading here)

Joe McDonald Named Museum President
Brings Years of Community Experience, Dedication
By Sue Minichiello

Joe McDonald, a third-generation West End native and longtime community activist, has been named President of The West End Museum Board of Directors. McDonald served as a Board member for two years and as President of the West End Civic Association (WECA) in 2012. Now, as Museum President, h e aims to help the nonprofit achieve a more secure financial position.
"The Museum is such an asset to the West End and, over the past several years, has grown to focus on far more than urban renewal. It has expanded to embrace other periods all the way through to the present day, giving a wider historical perspective that's been very enlightening for old and new West Enders alike," McDonald said. "I'm pleased to take on this new role and help bring the best of the old neighborhood to today's West End."
Community advocacy and engagement are in Joe McDonald's DNA. He has proudly followed in the footsteps of his father, also named Joseph, who dedicated much of his life to improving circumstances for residents of the West End. Sadly in 1953, the family had to move to Jamaica Plain when the destruction and displacement of urban renewal hit the community. Although just 12 years old at the time, the younger McDonald has vivid memories that ... (continue reading here)
Observations from the West End Jane's Walk
By Nicholas DeBlasio


On the afternoon of Saturday, May 6, a crowd of about 20 tourists
, students and West End residents old and new filtered from the rain outside into The West End Museum. There, Duane Lucia greeted them. A seasoned neighborhood historian and current resident, Lucia served as the guide for the day's event, the Jane's Walk West End Tour.
Jane's Walks are tours held in neighborhoods around the world in honor of Jane Jacobs, an activist for neighborhood preservation and strong local societies. A staunch opponent of many urban renewal projects, Jacobs' philosophy was that development should be driven by the community, not ... (continue reading here )
Current Exhibits 


Prior to the demolition of Boston's old West End, another vibrant, multi-ethnic neighborhood of tenement houses and mom-and-pop shops fell victim to so-called 'urban renewal.' The New York Streets: Boston's First Urban Renewal Project tells the story of this lost 'sister' community in the northeast corner of the South End.

Featuring photographs from a collection donated by Ira Tarlin, Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord depicts the West End at the time of demolition. Ira's father, Eli Tarlin, was an original resident who came to own numerous properties in the neighborhood. The demise of the community, says the family, was also Eli's demise.
Membership Benefits

Did you know that members of The  West End Museum receive a 10% discount on all gift shop items and are first to hear the latest news about new exhibits, special events and more? 


Plus, membership helps the Museum fulfill its mission by providing exhibits for the public to enjoy, as well as preserving archives and offering access to those collections. It also helps with outreach programs that increase and sustain appreciation of an important American urban neighborhood.


Please condier becoming a member or -- if you already are one -- make a gift of memebrship to a family member or friend.  Click here to find out how. 

Support the
old logo

Our all-volunteer Museum can always use your support to help produce exhibits and other programming to preserve the history and culture of the West End.
Please consider making a donation of any size today. No amount is too small, and every dollar is greatly appreciated.
YOU can make a huge contribution to the Museum by donating just a few hours a week of your time. Regardless of your background or experience, we have a role for you, and your time will be deeply appreciated. Check out our Volunteer Match page to learn more about the opportunities available right now.
Rent the Museum
The Museum is the perfect setting to ho st  meetings, receptions, luncheons and lectures for up to 100 people. Museum staff can customize a tour or present any of our virtual tours and presentations.
Learn more about renting the Museum.
The West End Museum
150 Staniford Street, Suite 7  Boston, MA  02114  (617)-416-0718
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