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West End, Moving Forward/Looking Back
Members of the Wentworth community and the public gathered on Wednesday, November 7th in the school’s Alumni Library for the opening reception of the West End Museum exhibit. Over seventy people gathered during the evening hours on one of the season’s first nor’easters to view the exhibits and hear remarks from Jim Campano, the founder of the West End Museum, and Duane Lucia, executive director of the West End Museum. Their remarks centered on the economic and cultural history of Boston’s West End. An informative Q&A period in which students participated followed. The West End Museum exhibit will run through November 26, 2012, and is free and open to the public during Alumni Library’s operating hours.
Mr. Lucia designed and installed the West End exhibit at Alumni Library. He focused his remarks on the economic engines – rope making, transportation – that fueled the development, and population of the west end from colonial times to the present. He also spoke of the community institutions that provided training and classes for the assimilation of the west end’s immigrant population.
Duane Lucia has lived in the West End for over 15 years where he has run a business and raised two children. He is the founder of the West End Community Center, the first in the neighborhood in over sixty years and a former President of the West End Civic Association. His love of history and culture, as well as his professional background as owner and curator of an art gallery has led him to a working relationship with the West End Museum. Mr. Lucia’s interest in Charles Bulfinch, a former West Ender who shaped Boston after the Revolutionary War, has also helped to broaden the West End Museums program considerations. Mr. Lucia currently serves as the museum’s executive director and clerk of the organization.
Jim Campano is a former West Ender whose family immigrated to the neighborhood from Italy and Eastern Europe in the early 1900’s. He was the founder of both the Old West End Housing Corporation (OWEHC) and the West End Museum; he served as the OWEHC’s first president. In addition, Mr. Campano is the founder of the West Ender Newspaper which has operated since 1985 and has hosted the West Ender Video News Show on Somerville Cable Access Television..
Mr. Campano has a legendary reputation amongst tens of thousands of former West Enders who were displaced as a result of the decimation of the neighborhood in the 1950’s Urban Renewal Project. Jim Campano spoke about what life was like growing up in the culturally diverse and creative west end community of his youth. He also revisited the degradation of the west end due to changes in immigration law and the eventual destruction of the close knit west end community of his youth through an urban renewal revitalization project.