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

When The Port Was a Port

By Michael Kenney, Summer 2014 An early 20th century photograph of the schooner Henry Endicott heading up the Charles River towards the Broad Canal stands as evidence that there was a time when the “port” in Cambridgeport had any real meaning. The Henry Endicott was a 192-foot, three-masted schooner built in Bath, Maine, in 1908, for the Cambridge Electric Light … Read More

A Close-up of Huron Avenue

We always say, Everyone is a history ambassador. “A Close-up of Huron Avenue” shows just how true that is, no matter how old—or young—you are. Around 1980, Fayerweather Street School students, ages eight to eleven, conducted a five-month study of their neighborhood. At that time, the school was located at 74R Fayerweather Street (it moved to its current location, 765 … Read More

The Cyclotron

By Bruce Irving, Spring 2014 For nearly 65 years, the corner of Oxford and Hammond streets was home to a nuclear family quite unlike the others in the neighborhood. This one was large, mostly male, heavy on the PhD’s (with a few Nobel winners thrown in), and was housed in a pair of buildings called the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory (HCL). … Read More

Annette LaMond: Economist Turned History Enthusiast

Cambridge resident and  CHS volunteer Annette LaMond has provided us with A History Reclaimed: The Society for the Protection of Native Plants and the Cambridge Plant Club, an in-depth, illustrated history of the two organizations that takes us back to their late 19th century origins.  “This history of the Society for the Protection of Native Plants grew out of my research for a history of … Read More

‘Quiet Courage’: Maria Baldwin and the Racial Politics of Education in Cambridge

By Beth Folsom, Program Manager, History Cambridge In her 1905 report to the parents of ten-year-old Edward Cummings, his principal Maria Baldwin described him as “a most loveable little boy, and we are glad that he is part of our little community.”[1] Nearly six decades later, when that little boy had become the celebrated American poet e.e. cummings, he reflected … Read More