West End’s Most Famous Resident Comes Home

Acclaimed actor, author and photographer Leonard Nimoy recently returned to the West End, where he grew up last week.

Traveling with his son, Adam, Nimoy visited the West End Museum to shoot footage for a family film and view the current exhibit of photographs from Jules Aarons.

According to museum curator Duane Lucia, Nimoy spotted his grandmother in one of the photos, which launched a flood of memories of his early days growing up in the melting pot that was the West End of the 1930s and 1940s.

“He had many question regarding how the neighborhood has changed since urban renewal,” said Lucia. “We looked at the old maps of the neighborhood and he got his bearings using St. Joseph’s Church on Cardinal O’Connell Way, which was formerly Chambers Street across from where Nimoy lived.”

The church is the most prominent building that survived the transformation of the neighborhood in the early 1960s.

Museum tour guide Bruce Guarino provided background and context on the many artifacts and photos comprising the “Last Tenement” exhibit as well as the Aarons photos (on display through Aug. 3).

Nimoy then chatted with members of the museum’s board of directors and other visitors.

When Leonard and Adam Nimoy returned to the museum on June 7, they were accompanied by two camera crews. The Nimoys are working on a film about their family legacy and walked the neighborhood to get video at the Vilna Shul, St. Joseph’s Church, along Cambridge Street and Joy Street.

After the visit, Lucia posted this quote on his Facebook page: “Spent the afternoon on Friday with former West Ender Leonard Nimoy. He had some great stories about growing up in the West End and sounded amazingly like a typical neighborhood guy!”

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