The Window Shop


1939 – 1972


  • 37 Church St. (May 2, 1939-Nov. 1939)
  • 102 Mt. Auburn St. (Nov. 1939-1947)
  • 56 Brattle St. (1947-1972)


    Restaurant/Safe Harbor for Refugees/Consignment Shop

  • History

    The Window Shop was started on the second floor of 37 Church St. in Harvard Square by a small group of philanthropic-minded Cambridge women. One of these women was Elsa Brändström Ulich, Swedish immigrant and Red Cross worker. It provided work opportunities and aid to German, Austrian, and other refugees seeking new lives in America. It became a favorite hangout for many, including the newly-naturalized Walter Gropius during his teaching years at Harvard. In the 1940s, it became one of the few businesses in Cambridge to hire African Americans. The final home of the Window Shop near the corner of Story and Brattle Sts. holds a rich history of its own. The c.1808 Federal-style house was once The Cock Horse Inn, Dexter Pratt's blacksmith shop (made famous in the 1841 Longfellow Poem "The Village Blacksmith"), The Window Shop, then the Hi-Rise Bakery and Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

    Photo courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Commission