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West End residents try to save three historic buildings from Mass. General wrecking ball

The Beacon Hill Times reports residents are hoping to convince Mass. General to save three buildings, one from 1884, that somehow survived the neighborhood's destruction in the 1950s only to face demolition as part of the hospital's $1-billion expansion plan.

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Comments

Apart from their age, what exactly is so historic or significant about these buildings that justifies preservation?

Funny how the article is totally silent about that.

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“ The project as proposed would result in the demolition of the 1884 Winchell Elementary School (a.k.a. Ruth Sleeper Hall) at 24 Blossom St., the 1910 West End Tenement House at 23-25 North Anderson St. and the West End Settlement House at 16-18 Blossom St. – three of about a dozen historically significant buildings in the neighborhood to have survived the Urban Renewal efforts that began in the 1950s.”

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Leonard Nimoy, known for his impact and contributions across the universe, developed his acting craft at West End House.

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I appreciate Nimoy and his sense of humor about his career but c'mon, that's a reason to save a building? Cities change and evolve all the time - we don't live in a museum and this doesn't pass the test. These buildings aren't different from already preserved buildings in the protected areas of Boston - Back Bay, North End, South End...

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Which is exactly a prime reason the West End should be allowed to retain a few mementos of its own. Building more luxury single rooms for MGH’s A-list patients doesn’t do anything for those of us who lived in and visit and those who currently live in the West End. One of those buildings would suit the growing West End Museum. United South End Settlements is a thriving community asset. The West End could use similar services. It also needs some affordable housing which is what old school buildings adapt well too. Rogerson Communities has done wonderful things for many years with these type buildings.

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How does the arbitrarily drawn lines of our neighborhoods affect which buildings ought to be preserved?

If the West End merged with Beacon Hill, say, tomorrow, you would need an entirely different argument.

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While a small percentage of patients are that, the vast majority are normal people like us.

Single room hospital beds are becoming the norm. Would you want your family member hearing a terrible diagnosis and going over treatment options while their roommate was watching The Price Is Right?

This expansion needs to happen.

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Have been doing so for decades.
They’ve worked fine for my family members.

Hospital stays are short. Life is long. People need their own bedrooms.
Housing is more important than something that just raises the cost of medical care and insurance.

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Matt, I couldn't agree more.
My wife and I have dealt with multiple hospitalizations, ERs, nursing/rehab for parents, other relatives, friends (and ourselves) over the past 10-15 years. The caregivers have generally been great across the board, but it is amazing to experience the difference in facilities.
You notice the flaws in older places even if you've never seen better - no elbow room, no soundproofing, no privacy, disorientation... I wonder how the hospital staff keeps a straight face passing any of the signs about medical privacy, etc... when you have to have a conversation about medical history, symptoms, bodily functions - three or four feet away from another patient/family on the other side of a hanging curtain.
When you encounter a place that thinks of those things and has time/space/money/creativity - you'll never want to go back. Big singles (or even not-so-big), with enough space and a second set of support hookups for disaster situations, soundproofing, consultation rooms... it's great!
---
I will say one thing for old-school that I wish all the places would go back to - have visiting hours, have visiting limits, have visitor passes! Enforce them!

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I just had a similar experience in a hospital.

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False dichotomy. It's possible to have a hospital with private rooms while preserving the last 3 historic buildings in the area.

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but let the past die. We live in a city that is rich with many, many, many examples of this kind of architecture. There is no meaningful tie between the current population of the West End and the Nimoy era. Preserving three brick builings as nail buildings a very, very short way away from an entire preserved neighborhood of brick buildings is a stupid reason to kneecap the growth of an absolutely critical part of the Boston economy.

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I mean, what, MGH (which owns all three lots) should just give them to a museum and provide housing for 30 odd lottery winners? That's going to exactly nothing except make the historical folks feel smug until they find their next target in their attempt to fix the city in amber.

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A neighborhood almost totally erased. That's what Urban Development is.

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I used to work in that area and a fan of Boston history and these buildings are unfamiliar to me. Are they in use now?

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At least the two big buildings on Blossom Street are. I'm not sure about the little tenement on North Anderson Street.

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.... is out in full force.

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From Coronavirus? A few months ago they were frontline heroes, risking their health for peoples lives. Now they’re just a money grubbing Corporation. Maybe were finally getting back to normal?

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Sign of the times. It's all about the money. Once you got the money, then you got the power. When you got the power then you got the

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It’s just awful that soon a
Half of beacon hill will be mgh.

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75% of that block is surface parking. That should be enough for MGH to build on.

If they need more space, how about they demolish the Parkman Street Garage across the street, and replace it with a building for people?

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Tear down the buildings. There's nothing significant about them, other than the history. Don't hold up one of the greatest medical institutions in the world at this moment in history. They're not tearing down the Ether Dome.

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