Tag Archives: Architecture

Researching the History of Your Cambridge House at the New Valente Branch

Researching the History of Your Cambridge House at the New Valente Branch
Are you interested in learning more about where you live or the property you own? This hour-long workshop will guide you through a variety of online resources that will help you research your home from the comfort of your home. Discover when your building was built and by whom. Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  Registration is mandatory.

Date, Time & Location:
6:30pm – 7:30pm, Monday, November 18, Valente Branch, REGISTER HERE

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Researching the History of Your Cambridge House: Branch Tour!

Researching the History of Your Cambridge House:  Branch Tour!
Are you interested in learning more about where you live or the property you own? This hour-long workshop will guide you through a variety of online resources that will help you research your home from the comfort of your home. Discover when your building was built and by whom. Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  Registration is mandatory.

Date, Time & Location:
6:00pm – 7:00pm, Wednesday, November 28, O’Connell Branch, REGISTER HERE
6:00pm – 7:00pm, Wednesday, December 5, O’Neill Branch, REGISTER HERE
6:00pm – 7:00pm, Wednesday, December 11, Central Branch, REGISTER HERE
3:00pm – 4:00pm, Thursday, January 10, Collins Branch, REGISTER HERE
3:00pm – 4:00pm, Tuesday, January 15, Boudreau Branch, REGISTER HERE

The Library 21 Records Are Now Available

Cambridge Public Library Annual Report 1990/1991 available in the Library 21 Records.

We are pleased to announce that the Library 21 records, 1989-2001 are now available for research.

History
Library 21 was a citizens’ advisory committee appointed by the Cambridge City Manager in May 1996 to make a comprehensive study of the needs of the community in re-conceptualizing the Cambridge Public Library for the 21st century. The committee was composed of Cambridge residents and city officials. It was co-chaired by Nancy Woods and Richard Rossi. Its goals were to 1) identify the roles and services for a new library system and 2) translate those into physical requirements for a main library building. Library 21 presented its recommendations in a report to the City Manager that focused on public education and outreach. They concentrated during this process on surveying and gathering input from the residents of Cambridge for what services and programs they envisioned for the new library. Their interim report positioned the Committee as advisors to the City Manager during the creation of the new library in order to impart the knowledge they gained during their two-year studying of the community and its connection to the library.

Collection Overview
The collection contains organizational records from the Library 21 committee. It includes information on committee members; meeting agenda, minutes, and planning materials; background research and reference materials; media coverage; information on community involvement; and information on various aspects of study, including site selection

Cambridge 2000 Records Are Now Available

A scrapbook page chronicling some of the events in 2000, available in the Cambridge 2000 Records.

We are pleased to announce that the Cambridge 2000 Records, 1999-2001 are now available for research in the Cambridge Room.

History
The Cambridge Arts Council coordinated a series of activities and events to celebrate the millennium in 2000. It held a series of four light celebrations created by Spectaire, a collaborative of light artists. The celebrations were The Beaconing (January 22, 2000), Light Parade (May 13, 2000), Skyward Light (September 23, 2000), and Illuminated Word (December 7, 2000). An additional event was “Curious Doings in Cambridge Crosswalks,” which featured performers from Behind the Mask Theatre and volunteers from city departments and sought to raise awareness about public safety. It produced a series of quarterly calendars under the title “2 thousand things to do in Cambridge in 2 thousand.”

Collection Overview
The collection consists of calendars, images, magnets, media coverage, slides of words and poetry used as outdoor library wall projections in the “Illuminated Word” event, T-shirts and other promotional materials, the City’s 2000 Annual Report featuring the celebration, and a cassette tape of two interviews of light artists that appeared on WBUR and WRK

2015 Massachusetts Avenue Circa 1900

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This photograph shows the 2000 block of Massachusetts Avenue, which is just north of Porter Square, featuring the business of Alexander Souter, house and decorative painter.  The building also houses a carpenter and a carriage painter and repairer.  The photograph, taken sometime between 1904 and 1909, is from the Cambridge Room’s Glass Plate Negative Collection (002).

Below is painter Alexander Souter’s advertisement from the October 19, 1912 edition of Cambridge Chronicle:
souter

And here’s what 2015 Massachusetts Avenue looks like today:

2015mass

Preserving Cambridge: 2015 Winners

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93 Inman Street (1870), Before.

This year’s Preservation Awards are being highlighted in a special exhibition on the library’s second floor case. Winners include the Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center, Harvard Art Museum, and the NEGEA Building at 130 Bishop Allen Drive among many other commercial and residential projects. The Cambridge Historical Commission presented the awards on May 27th. View the fantastic slideshow here and see how the buildings have been transformed.

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93 Inman Street (1870), After.

Preserving Cambridge: An Exhibition

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Before: 1161 Cambridge Street

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After:  1161 Cambridge Street, Cambridge Preservation Award Winner, 2012

Preserving Cambridge

Exhibition Location: 2nd Floor of the Main Library

The Cambridge Preservation Awards Program, inaugurated by the Historical Commission in 1997, celebrates outstanding projects and notable individuals who conserve and protect the city’s architecture and history.  Awards are given each May for projects completed within the previous calendar year.  May is National Preservation month.

Seven project categories are eligible for Cambridge Preservation Awards:  restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive use, neighborhood conservation, landscape preservation, archaeology, and education/outreach.  Awards are based on the following criteria:

  • historical and architectural significance of the property,
  • exceptional quality of the project,
  • extent to which the project contributed to the preservation of the property,
  • impact of the project on the preservation of the city’s historic resources.

Previous award-winning projects have included residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial properties as well as historic landscapes.  The exhibit features before and after photographs of past award winners and demonstrate the hard work of owners, architects, carpenters, and other craftsmen to preserve these buildings for future Cantabrigians to enjoy.

The Cambridge Preservation Awards Program is May 27, 2015.  The public is welcome.   View the invitation here:  Preservation_2015.

Boston Charter Day This Weekend

In honor of the founding of the three oldest towns in Massachusetts – Boston, Dorchester, and Watertown, the Partnership of Historic Boston is celebrating with talks, tours, exhibitions all on the subject of 17th Century Architecture.  The programs look fantastic:

Thursday, September 15, Lecture
Built in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: 17th Century Architecture
Boston Public Library

Friday, September 16, Lecture
Discovery and New Challenges of Restoration
The Bostonian Society

Saturday, September 17, Tour
Tour two Historic New England Properties
The Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury and the Rocky Hill Meeting House in Amesbury
(Reservations required; cost $65 per person]

Sunday, September 18, Church Service and Lecture
From Stone to Timber:  Meeting Houses in the New World
The First Church in Boston

Sunday, September 18, Walking Tour
Boston Founders Walking Tour
Tours start from the First Church in Boston

September 15 through October 9, Exhibition
Enduring Legacies of 17th Century Architecture in Massachusetts
Boston Public Library, Rare Book  Room

For more information, view the flyer or visit the Partnership of Historic Boston’s website.

Famous Cantabrigians: John Harvard’s Mother


The house where John Harvard’s mother grew up, Stratford, England, heliotrope, late 19th century.

Although very little is known about John Harvard, the man who left upon his death half his fortune and entire library to Harvard in 1638, the nineteenth century genealogist Henry F. Waters was able to uncover information on the Harvard family in England, including the above photograph, which was the childhood home of Katherine Rogers, John Harvard’s mother.  The house was built by Katherine’s father, Alderman Thomas Rogers, in 1596.  Katherine grew up there, and in 1605, it was the location of her wedding to Robert Harvard.

According to John T. Hassam, who wrote the preface to Henry Water’s 1886 Harvard family genealogy, the house  “is one of the oldest and certainly the best remaining example of ancient domestic architecture in Stratford.”

The house still stands today and is open for tours.  Perhaps most interestingly, the house is now owned by Harvard University.  For more information, read:  http://www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk/soaharv.htm.


The house where John Harvard’s mother grew up, Stratford, England, today.

Works Cited
1. Waters, Henry F., John Harvard and His Ancestry, Boston:  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1886.