A Brief History of “Ten Ten”

 By Elizabeth af Jochnick Before Ten Ten was Ten Ten, it was an in-patient infirmary for Harvard students, located next to Mount Auburn Hospital, known as the Stillman Infirmatory.  When the University moved its student health facilities to Harvard Square, they put the Infirmary up for sale.  Harvard offered to sell the building and the land surrounding it, to the … Read More

Grendel’s Den: 50 years of Stories to Tell

Grendel's Den

By Daniel Berger-Jones, Company Leader, President, Cambridge Historical Tours, Inc. Grendel’s Den is one of the most iconically Cantabrigian bars there is. Founded in 1971 by Herb and Sue Kuelzer, it’s now on its second generation of family ownership in the hands of their daughter Kari. And at 50 years old, the bar is not only going strong, but has … Read More

Thanksgiving in Civil War Cambridge

Harper's Weekly 1864.

From the beginnings of English settlement in the American colonies, both religious and secular leaders called for certain days to be set aside for fasting, prayer and thanksgiving, usually aligned with the change in seasons and their accompanying times of planting and harvesting. The earliest settlers to arrive in Massachusetts brought this tradition with them from England, and what we … Read More

Gold Star Memorials in North Cambridge

By Marion Severynse Veterans Day is an appropriate time to pay homage to the role that North Cambridge and its residents have played in the military history of Massachuestts and the United States. There are nine Memorial Pole and Dedication Markers commemorating Gold Star service members in the area bounded by Rindge Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and Alewife Brook Parkway. In … Read More

A Lost Park: Longfellow’s Parklands

By Annette LaMond | S.M., MIT Sloan School of Management | Ph.D., Yale University There are various lenses through which to view the history of a city, and the treatment of open space and development of parks may be as revealing as any other. This is particularly true in Cambridge – one of the most densely populated small cities in … Read More

History Hive: Harvard Square Police Kiosks

#HCHistoryHive, we’ve got another mystery for you to solve! This one’s from Pat P. of Naples, FL. Share your memories of this time and place…. “I am writing an essay about a trip to the Boston area in 1963. My buddy and I went there to see a friend who was attending Harvard. When we drove into Harvard Square we … Read More

Cambridge and the Smallpox Epidemic, 1893-1903

By Beth Folsom In our current era of COVID-19, heated discussions of vaccine mandates and the class and racial tensions inherent in these conversations may seem like a contemporary dilema, but an examination of Cambridge at the turn of the 20th century reveals that the city engaged in similar debates around the issue of smallpox vaccination and public accommodation more … 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

Opposition House

By Susan Chasen, 2012 Tucked away on a short spur off Hancock Street stands a quiet, historic home that has been known — if not well known — for most of its two hundred and five years as Opposition House. The name suggests a headquarters for political activity or resistance. But it was the house itself that expressed the opposition: … Read More

Serjeant Family Letters Transcribed

Thanks to generous funding from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the Serjeant Family Letters (1769-1840) have now been digitized and transcribed. This collection offers insight into the life of a Loyalist family in the years leading up to and following the Revolutionary War. The letters, transcribed below, illuminate the connections between family and religion and shed light on colonial … Read More