Changing Tides in Cambridge Industry

Black and white photo of people seated a tables in a candy factory

By Beth Folsom, 2022 In an article written in January of 1912, a reporter for the Cambridge Chronicle extolled the city’s place as a leading center of industry in Massachusetts, not just in the overall amount of manufacturing that took place in the city, but also the diversification of industrial production. Cambridge’s factories, he argued,…

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Self-Guided Tour: The Work of Revolution in Cambridge

Laundresses at a Revolutionary Army camp, circa 1780.

Introduction For many, the first image that comes to mind when thinking of Cambridge during the Revolutionary Era is that of General George Washington taking command of the Continental Army on Cambridge Common in July of 1775, under what would come to be known as the Washington Elm. Although we now know that this tale…

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S&S Restaurant is still serving up the comfort after more than a century in Inman Square

The S&S Restaurant storefront in Inman Square in June 2019.

by Deb Mandel, 2022 In the decade preceding Cambridge Electric Light’s illumination of Cambridge Street, when trolley tracks ran from Inman to Porter Square, a little delicatessen began welcoming hungry patrons. From its opening in November 1919, Rebecca “Ma” Edelstein greeted guests with “es and es,” Yiddish for “eat and eat” – the phrase that lent the…

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Joyce Chen started with a 250-seat restaurant, went to 350 and only grew her empire from there

Man and a woman standing in front of a counter smiling

I recently began working as a volunteer for History Cambridge, updating the 2011 Culinary Cambridge website written by Rain Robertson. Digging through the Cambridge Public Library’s Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection has been a great opportunity to revisit some of my favorite restaurants. My best experience so far has been speaking with Stephen Chen, son of Joyce Chen, to review information and enrich the restaurant’s history with photographs and personal stories. In honor of May being Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we salute Joyce Chen, her restaurants and her family legacy.

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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…

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Guided Tour: Food and Mending in Central Square

Guided Tour

As a source of both physical and emotional sustenance, food is intricately tied to our survival as individuals and as a community. During the twentieth century, food also played an important role as a means by which Cambridge visitors and residents could learn about and connect with their neighbors across racial, ethnic and class lines.…

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Fall Conversation: How Has Food Mended Cambridge?

Over the course of 2021, History Cambridge has been exploring the ways in which the city has repaired its social, economic, and political fabric in the wake of historical crisis points—as well as the ways in which the need for mending remains. As a means of both physical and emotional nourishment, food has played a…

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