FIFTY YEARS ago this spring the roar of heavy machinery echoed down the narrow streets of Boston’s old West End as bulldozers and cranes with wrecking balls began executing a desperate plan to revitalize the city by razing one of its oldest neighborhoods.
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Thousands of poor and elderly residents were evicted, many from the only home they had ever known. Veiled promises of relocation to comparable housing never materialized, and the West Enders were scattered throughout the metropolitan area. For many, their standard of living was severely reduced and they never recovered.