I was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1948, lived in a neighborhood of brick row houses as I grew and left forty years later, disappointed that the city never achieved it's potential as the Urban Village so many had predicted in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Chelsea was home to immigrants from everywhere in Europe in the early 1900's and many different houses of worship sprang up citywide. Many brought trades and professions to the small city and businesses abounded. Its close proximity to Boston was always an attraction for residents and businesses alike.
Chelsea survived devastating fires in 1908 and again in 1973...rebounding from the first, but stumbling after the second, losing the momentum needed to achieve greatness. Rapidly changing demographics drove scores of long time families to more affluent suburbs. Chaos drove the school system into receivership and the only thing most remembered of Chelsea was the fires. Chelsea now seems to have made a resurrection of sorts. A new high school, completely renovated middle school and new elementary school complex dot the landscape.
New businesses have opened in the area ravaged by the 1973 fire and a national hotel chain operates a hotel in town. Chelsea is experiencing its second turn as 'melting pot' for people from different places in the world and residents can now ride a commuter train from the "Urban Village" into Boston.