R. Buckminster Fuller in Cambridge

By Richard Lingner, 2011 If you’ve read anything about Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), you probably know that Fuller was kicked out of Harvard College. And not just once, but twice. He never graduated. You may not know, however, about some of his more positive experiences in Cambridge, including a stint as a visiting Harvard professor in the early 1960s. In … Read More

History Hive: Mrs. McCartney

#HCHistoryHive, you did it! We asked you to help us find the identity of a well known female mechanic who may have run a Gulf gas station in Brattle Square. This mechanical whiz was able to fix a car by hammering and/or kicking the motor. When asked if her fee was too much for simply roughing up the motor, she … Read More

Growing Up on Worcester Street

By Suzanne Revaleon Green Originally published in A City’s Life and Times: Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, 2007 Introduction written by Paula Paris, a member of the Cambridge Historical Commission and a co-founding member of the Cambridge Black History Project, an all-volunteer organization of individuals with deep roots in Cambridge, committed to researching, accurately documenting, preserving, and illuminating the journeys, … Read More

A Mystery Lingers Over Huron Avenue

By Michael Kenney, 2013 Cambridge’s streets have histories and stories, just as the city itself does. And among those stories, Huron Avenue is one of the richest – and one with a bit of mystery. There are three main sources for these histories. The detailed records compiled by Lewis M. Hastings, the city engineer from 1889 to 1932, frequently identify … Read More

1986 Neighborhood Trivia Hunt

Cambridge Trivia Hunt

Cambridge has certainly changed over time, and our 1986 trivia hunt shows just how true that is. It serves as a kind of time capsule of our city. 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 … 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