The Old West End

There are just a few reminders here of what was once the Old West End: a few brick tenements and a handful of monuments, including the first house built for Harrison Gray Otis. What once was a tangled web of streets housing myriad ethnic groups succumbed to a vast urban renewal project in the 1960s designed by I. M. Pei. The biggest surviving structures in the Old West End with any real history are two public institutions, Massachusetts General Hospital and the former Suffolk County Jail, which dates from 1849 and was designed by Gridley Bryant. The onetime prison is now part of the luxurious, and wryly named, Liberty Hotel.

Behind Massachusetts General and the sprawling Charles River Park apartment complex (famous among Storrow Drive commuters as the place with signs reading "If you lived here, you'd be home now") is a small grid of streets recalling an older Boston. Here are furniture and electric-supply stores, a discount camping-supply house (Hilton's Tent City), and many of the city's most popular watering holes. The main drag here is Causeway Street. North Station and the area around it, on Causeway between Haverhill and Canal streets, provide service to commuters from the northern suburbs and cheap brews to local barflies, and can be jammed when there's a game at the TD Garden, home of the Bruins and Celtics.

In addition to the Garden, the innovative Museum of Science is one of the more modern attractions of the Old West End. The newest addition to the area's skyline is the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, which spans the Charles River just across from the TD Garden.

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Explore The Old West End


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