If you’re ever walking down Harvard Street on your way to Harvard Square and notice ballet dancers going in and out of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, it’s because the church is home to the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre. The congregation partnered with the ballet company 13 years ago in an interesting arrangement that has involved both organizations given $2.5 million towards the preservation of the historic church.
Here are few interesting facts about the church: it was built at a time when Baptists were the minority in Cambridge; early congregants were former slaves; and it has been a center for the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights, and the anti-Vietnam war movements. There is a magnificent Tiffany stained glass window. It’s a National Historic Landmark that receives 125,000 visitors each year, including 75,000 for ballet classes and performances.
For more information, read Preservation Magazine‘s “A Beautiful Duet: Harvard Square Church, Ballet Company Thrive in 1870 Landmark.” The article features quotes from our good friend Charlie Sullivan from the Cambridge Historic Commission.