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

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

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

Edith Lesley: Pioneering Educational Leader

By Jan Devereux This blog post is a result of our “How Have Women Shaped Cambridge?” call for submissions as we celebrate our 2020 theme, “Who Are Cambridge Women?” Edith Lesley (1872-1953) left a mark on Cambridge in founding, in 1909, the school that over the past 111 years has grown into Lesley University.  The daughter of a shoemaker, Edith … Read More

The History of Garden Street

By Lois Lilley Howe Read April 25, 1949 This article originally appeared in the Cambridge Historical Society Proceedings, Volume 33, pages 37-57 WE CANNOT think of Old Garden Street without thinking of the Common which forms one side of it. Yet our thought of the Common is just of a big open space with trees and a Soldiers’ Monument like any New … Read More

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