In the early 1970s, Codman Square was burning down. Block by block, the streets were desolate, and on empty lots were the charred remains of people’s homes. Arson for profit schemes raged.
Many of the Irish-Americans who raised generations in the cramped triple-deckers fled the neighborhood, afraid. But 18-year-old Bill Walczak, new to the neighborhood and newly married, moved in.
“There was a lot of work to do back then,’’ recalled the Rev. Dr. Bill Loesch, a former Boston City Hospital chaplain who met Walczak when they were both rebuilding Codman Square. “And the odds were against us.”
Over the next four decades, Walczak helped to revive the neighborhood into a bustling commercial center with a gleaming health center as its anchor. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.