Special thanks to AV Media, Inc. for donating their time, talents and resources to support the annual Passport to Belonging event. Their generosity makes a difference in the lives of West End House young people.
The West End House Story…
In 1903, a group of immigrant boys in the densely packed West End neighborhood of Boston banded together to form a club dedicated to the moral, mental and physical advancement of its members. The boys met on the Boston Common, in alleyways and in abandoned buildings to exercise, study history and literature and to forge the bonds of friendship that would insure survival in a rough urban neighborhood. Philanthropist James J. Storrow, for whom Storrow Drive is named, was so impressed by their motivation, unity and strength of character that in 1906 he funded a clubhouse for the boys, which became known as The West End House Boys Club.
For nearly seven decades, the Club served as the cornerstone of the West End neighborhood, serving immigrant boys from Russia, Poland and other eastern European countries. Under the leadership of our first executive director, Mitchell Freiman, and later Jacob "Jack" Burns and Allie Coles, the West End House played a pivotal role in the lives of generations of boys.
In the 1950s, urban renewal replaced the West End neighborhood with luxury high-rise apartments and an expanded Massachusetts General Hospital. By 1960, the neighborhood of more than 7,000 people ceased to exist.
Although there were no boys left to serve in the West End, our leadership was determined to live up to the West End House motto – The Spirit of the House Will Never Die. A study commissioned by the West End House revealed that the Allston-Brighton area was home to the largest population of children of immigrant families in need of services and in 1971, the West End House moved there. In 1976, the Club proudly became one of the first in the nation to include girls as full members and went on to become the West End House Boys and Girls Club.
The Club has thrived in its new location and for more than 30 years has been filled with children on the path to becoming productive, responsible and caring citizens.
The New and Improved Clubhouse