2012 Inner Belt Symposia

In 2012, the Cambridge Historical Society held a three-part symposia on the Inner Belt in Cambridge. The events were co-sponsored by MIT, Livable Streets, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and were underwritten by Irving House and Forest City. The planning committee included Karilyn Crockett, Richard Garver, Michael Kenney, Gavin Kleespies, Alyssa Pacy, and Jim Peters. Program One: The Role of Planners Working with Community GroupsWed, … Read More

Inner Belt Hub

Introduction The Inner Belt was a proposed eight-lane highway that would have connected U.S. Route I-93 to U.S. Route I-90 and I-95 through a ring road through Somerville and Central Square and across the B.U. Bridge and beyond through Boston to the Southeast Expressway. A group of city planners, community activists, universities, and politicians formed a coalition to block the construction … Read More

YWCA of Cambridge: Labor Activism in the 1890s-1930s

By Sarah Huggins, Intern, Lesley UniversityMarch 2020  The YWCA of Cambridge established itself as self-governing in 1891 with a simple mission, “To improve the temporal, moral and religious welfare of those who come under its care, by personal influence and by industrial and educational classes.” The organization operated with liberal policies for their era in the formation of an inclusive … Read More

Recap of 11/13/2019 Fall Conversation

On November 13, 2019, Cambridge Historical Society hosted Fall Conversation 2019: How Can We Make Change Here? at University Lutheran Church. Speakers Cheyenne Wyzzard-Jones and Dr. Charlotte Ryan joined moderator Mary McNeil to discuss activism and how they use education as a tool to engage others. This event concluded the Society’s 2019 programs centered on the question “How Does Cambridge … Read More

Reflecting on the 2019 History Tour

Amelia Zurcher, 2019 Summer Programs Intern Approaching local history through the question “How Does Cambridge Engage?” has given me an interesting lens into the city’s years of activism and community-building. Throughout the summer of 2019, I spent many days strolling Cambridge’s streets, sifting through archives, and talking with local residents. When I first began research for the history walking tour, … Read More

Recap of 9/23/19 History Café 3: Engaging through the Arts

Many thanks to everyone who joined us at the Central Square Theater for our final History Café of 2019! We were delighted to hear from artists David Fichter, Eryn Johnson, and Vincent Siders on how the arts can serve as a catalyst for– or reaction to– change. Our thanks to Dr. Marty Blatt for moderating the conversation. The evening began … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: Central Square Activism From the 1960s to Now

By Amelia Zurcher, Society Intern, July 2019 This tour was made possible by the Cambridge Heritage Trust Tour Route Overview and History Central Square has been characterized for much of its history as a working-class neighborhood. In the 1960s, the demographics around Central Square began to change subtly. The growth of local universities led to greater numbers of students in … Read More

50 Years Later: Harvard’s 1969 Protests

In Cambridge, as in the rest of America, the late 1960s were a period of unrest and upheaval. As we consider our 2019 theme “How Does Cambridge Engage?” we benefit from looking back fifty years to the Spring of  1969. The events of April 8th-10th, 1969 were a response to the Vietnam War and the social and political tensions it sparked. … 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