July 28 History Café: Changing Tides in Cambridge Industry

History Café: Changing Tides in Cambridge Industry Thursday, July 28 at 7 PM ET Virtual program over Zoom Free; donations accepted This event will focus on the role of workers in Cambridge factories and large-scale industry. What did the industrial landscape of the city look like in the 19th and 20th centuries, and what sectors are prominent today? How have waves of migration … Read More

A Brief History of Zoning in Cambridge

By Doug Brown, 2016 Just as we have a place for everything in a well-ordered home, so we should have a place for everything in a well-regulated town. What would we think of a housewife who insisted on keeping her gas range in the parlor and her piano in the kitchen?–Cambridge Tribune, March 8, 1919 In 1919, no city understood … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: The History of Candy Making in Cambridge

By Natalie Moravek, Intern In 1946, sixty-six candy manufacturing companies were listed in the phone book. The candy industry in the area began in 1765, on the banks of the Neponset River in Dorchester, when an Irish immigrant named John Hannon established a chocolate mill. The large and populated city made an ideal setting for a new industry to start … Read More

Cambridgeport: Its People and Their Stories

By Michael Kenney, Winter 2011  Cambridgeport stands, geographically and socially, midway between East Cambridge and Old Cambridge, neither a traditional southern European enclave nor the remnants of Puritan New England. This issue of the Newetowne Chronicle focuses on Cambridgeport and its vibrant past through a collection of articles and a report on the celebration of that past on Cambridgeport History … Read More

Riverside: A Rowing Club for Workers

By Richard Garver, 2011 Riverside Boat Club was founded in 1869 as a trade-based rowing club by workers, predominantly Irish, from The Riverside Press, which was located between River Street and Western Avenue. Its first boathouse was a disused press building. Rowing was one of America’s most popular sports at the time. Boston’s July 4 regatta in 1869 attracted 40,000 … Read More

Where Portuguese Families Found a New Home

By Sarah Boyer, 2013 Portuguese families from the North End of Boston and East Boston started to move into East Cambridge soon after the Civil War. Most of them had emigrated from the Azores, an archipelago 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, mainly from the largest island, São Miguel. Their numbers increased in the late 1800s, as the immigrants … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: Clay, Bricks, Dump, Park: A Tour of North Cambridge

This tour begins with glacial time – 10,000 years ago when ice left behind vast deposits of clay in North Cambridge, then fast-forwards 9,800 years to the neighborhood’s brickmaking heyday, and the dump left in its wake. Clay shaped one of Cambridge’s biggest industries, and the lives of North Cantabrigians for generations. Take a walk through North Cambridge to find out how.

Cars in Cambridge by Doug Brown

With air bags, anti–lock brakes, traction control, and GPS, the Uber driver of today operates a very different machine from the family chauffeur’s open–topped horseless carriage of 100 years ago. But regardless of the generation, Cantabrigians have always loved working on cars. Today that tinkering is just as likely to occur in a university lab as in a backyard garage. … Read More

The Remarkable John “Jack” Emerson: Founder of the J. H. Emerson Company

By Daphne Abeel, 2005 When Will and George Emerson begin to talk about their family background and their father, who founded the J. H. Emerson Company, they mention somewhat offhandedly that they are descended from a brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson and that their paternal grandfather was related to the artist Maxfield Parrish. But it is only when they begin … Read More