1986 Neighborhood Trivia Hunt

Cambridge Trivia Hunt

Cambridge has certainly changed over time. In 1986 we created a detailed trivia hunt. Today it’s a kind of time capsule of our city. You’re invited to take a trip back in time with this self-guided tour to see how many of these sites are still around. Which ones do you recognize? Which ones do you remember? What are your … Read More

Meet Your New-Old Friend: History Cambridge

Big changes are here. So big that you’ll begin to see us in a whole new light, starting with the most fundamental of things: Our name. You’ve been watching our transformation for a while now. Now we have a new name and image that showcases our innovative mindset. Meet your new-old friend: History Cambridge. We’re still here to explore local … Read More

A Brief History of Zoning in Cambridge

By Doug Brown, 2016 Just as we have a place for everything in a well-ordered home, so we should have a place for everything in a well-regulated town. What would we think of a housewife who insisted on keeping her gas range in the parlor and her piano in the kitchen?–Cambridge Tribune, March 8, 1919 In 1919, no city understood … Read More

Waves of Cambridge Migration: An Update

By Doug Brown, 2018 Why do people uproot their lives, move far from friends and family, and suffer the indignities that often come with being “new” to a place? Sometimes it’s for an education, or a different job, or a new relationship. Or maybe it’s simply to escape difficult circumstances, to reinvent oneself. The short answer is that there is … Read More

Evolving Agassiz

By Rolf Goetze Three famous men –– Asa Gray, Louis Agassiz, and Charles Darwin –– shaped our understanding of our origin, and two of them lived in Cambridge. Gray was the eminent botanist at Harvard, classifying plants into families and monitoring their worldwide distribution. Agassiz, an animal taxonomist and founder of Harvard’s Museum of Natural History, expounded a theory that … Read More

The Gold Rush

By Michael Kenney, 2014 When Charles F. McClure came back from the California Gold Rush, he bought an extensive tract of land off Massachusetts Avenue (then known as North Avenue) and commemorated his “49er” fortune by naming the street running through his property Sacramento Street. Other names recall long-forgotten residents, at least four of them women. Wendell Street was named … Read More

The Remeasure of Agassiz

By Jasmine Laietmark, 2014 Cambridge was on the cutting edge of science in the 19th century. Unfortunately, several star academics used the banner of science to support bigoted ideologies. Luckily, the scientific method also brought redemption by the second half of the 20th century. The paleontologist and Agassiz resident Stephen Jay Gould took his forebears’ science head-on in his book … Read More

From a Bleachery to a Playground

By Michael Kenney, 2014 It does look something like a swimming pool in this undated photograph from the Historical Commission. The location is just off Sacramento Street, and the girl, resting her arm against a tree, looks as if she is contemplating a swim, while the three adults lend a note of artistic composition to the scene. A current image, … Read More

Love Story

By Elizabeth Adams Lasser, 2014 On December 25, 1970, Hollywood’s maudlin film, Love Story made its New England debut at the Circle Theater in Brookline. The much anticipated film, starring heartthrob, Ryan O’Neal (Peyton Place), and the stunning Ali MacGraw (Goodbye, Columbus) became an overnight success. The movie was based on Harvard graduate Erich Segal’s similarly-named novel which spent over … Read More

Early Days at Newtowne Court

By Jane McGuirk Richards, 2014 We moved into Newtowne Court, door 30, apartment 265, in 1938, when I was one year old. We were among the first families to move in. There were seven of us, five children—two sets of twin girls and a single boy. Newtowne Court was a new concept in low income housing. Before Newtowne Court we … Read More