The Howl by Richard Griffin

The Howl was born in 1992 from a conversation held in midair over the Atlantic Ocean. My wife, Susan Keane, and I were returning from a vacation, and we were in the mood for a new project, preferably one that would benefit our neighborhood. We finally agreed that some kind of periodical could bring the people of Howland Street closer … Read More

When Sweet Flavors Filled the Air by Michael Kenney

When Orra L. Stone compiled his History of Massachusetts Industry in 1930, he counted no less than 29 candy-manufacturing firms in Cambridge. There were giants like the New England Confectionary Co., whose 1,400 workers produced some 500 varieties of candy, including the iconic NECCO wafers, at its plant on Massachusetts Avenue, and small family-run firms throughout Cambridgeport and East Cambridge. … Read More

Swimming in a Countercultural Sea

By Dick Cluster, 2010 For much of its brief existence between 1968 and 1970, the 16-page tabloid underground newspaper Old Mole featured a column of short items called Zaps on page 4. Here are two: “PEACE CORPS EXPELS 13 FOR ANTI-WAR ACTIVITY –– a real, live headline from the Washington Star.” “If it isn’t in the New York Times Index, … Read More

Composer Leroy Anderson: Cambridge Born and Bred

by Jane Anderson Vercelli, 2008 While the entertaining music of Leroy Anderson is heard all over the world today, the composer who wrote “Sleigh Ride” was born, raised, and educated in Cambridge, thanks to his Swedish parents, who immigrated as children to the United States. They chose to make Cambridge their home because they wanted Leroy and his brother to … Read More

The Cyclotron by Bruce Irving

For nearly 65 years, the corner of Oxford and Hammond streets was the home of 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 Prize winners thrown in), and housed in a pair of buildings called the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory (HCL). Demolished in 2003, the … Read More

Washington Elm Debate Rages On: Fact or Legend?

The Washington Elm Tradition by Samuel Francis Batchelder The famous Washington Elm, standing in the middle of Garden Street at its junction with Mason Street, was the first of a line of six magnificent elms planted along Garden Street, the westerly border of the “Cow Commons,” about 1700. The second stood at the corner of the present Waterhouse Street, and … Read More

The Makings of City Streets By Michael Kenney

As we lean into this year’s theme of “What Does Cambridge Make?”, a look at street names reveals a product–filled past. Porter Square was Union Square until 1899, when it was renamed in honor of Zachariah B. Porter, the proprietor of Porter’s Hotel; many claim he lent his name to the specialty of the house, the Porterhouse steak. Porter’s Hotel … Read More