"If This House Could Talk..." 2011
The Boston Elevated Railway
The Boston Elevated Railway, the horse-drawn trolley precursor to the MBTA, had a route that went from Massachusetts Avenue straight down Brookline Street to Granite Street, where the horses would enter a turnaround loop and head right back up Brookline Street, transporting residents into the hub of Central Square. Pearl Street resident Bill Davis remembers his father, Richard Harding Davis, telling him when the horse-drawn trolleys stopped using the turnaround loop sometime in the early part of the twentieth century in favor of a route that went down Pearl Street, cut over to Putnam Avenue, and back to Central Square via Brookline Street. Bill Davis also remembers, a few years ago, when construction workers discovered the beautiful and intricate brick trolley track bed several feet below Brookline Street.
Bill Davis and Alyssa Pacy
This Soap Worker Cottage was built 1835-1836 by Charles Valentine,
owner of a Cambridgeport slaughterhouse and soap factory, as housing for his workers. In 1880 Christopher Mullen, a 36-year-old widowed watchman, lived here with his two children: Mary Mullen, a 11-year-old daughter, and Willie Mullen, a 10-year-old son.
Christopher Mullen was born in Massachusetts. His parents were from Ireland.
Built in 1842, Restored in 2010.
In 1880, the residents of 8 Cottage Street were:
Caleb Buckman, 30 years old, a traveling salesman;
his wife, Sarah Buckman, 30 years old, who was
keeping house; their sons Charles Buckman, 5 years old and Herbert G. Buckman, 4 years old; and a boarder, George Hale, 19 years old, who was a
clerk at a stationery store.
William Watson sold the land to Calvin and Nancy Gove who built this house in 1870. Calvin had a store at 568 Main Street (Massachusetts Avenue) called Gove and Co. which sold fruit and produce. This is where Cort furniture is today. In 1987 George A. Chamberlain purchased the house. He was a salesman in Boston. In 1904 Mr. Chamberlain added the front porch. We're happy he did.
If this house could talk it would say there is some mystery as to original dates and structures where I now stand.
In 1854, one house was on this site and James Phillips was taxed on it. By 1876, the present configuration was recorded: 197 and 203 Franklin were close to the street, and this house was between and behind them, at the rear of the property. Cyrus Phillips, Jame's father, owned all three.
From 1868 to 1876, various Phillips family members lived here. They were plasterers and a mason. Charles W. Phillips, an entrepreneur, lived here before moving to his business site on Main St. at Norfolk; he owned a billiard saloon/oyster house.
If this house could talk it would tell you that it was built in 1906 on Charles River tidal flats. Oyster shells are still found in the yard.
(Shells and historical data from Massachusetts Oyster Project were included.)
It would tell you that the previous owners, the Millers, ran a dance studio in the basement. The maple floors are still there! When we bought the house in 1979, we found hundreds of little tutus in the attic. This Queen Anne style house was built in 1874.
117 and 113 Hamilton Street were both built around 1879 as worker’s housing for neighborhood industries. It is not known whether 115 Hamilton was added around the same time or later.
It is known that members of the Giacoppo family lived in this group of houses around the mid-1990s. Some of the Giacoppo men were Cambridge policemen. People we have met from all over Cambridge have told the story of coming to this address to swim in the Giacoppo’s courtyard swimming pool. …
Based on a ledger and a wooden sign found in the attic, Clams were sold from this house in the 1870s and 80s.
Later, the Murphys owned the house through several generations. Tom Murphy, known to many in the neighborhood as “Murph”, was one of a family of five who grew up and lived here until he died in the 90s. As an electrician with Simplex Wire & Cable, he was presented with a Massachusetts Safety Council Life Saving Award in 1963 for his assistance in rescuing a shock victim from a high altitude.
Dagmar von Schwerin
In the late 1800's Antonio Cacciola came to America
and a few years later built this 4-story brickface for his
At 90 years of age he still walked several miles each day
to come back and take care of his first house.
75 Henry Street
If this house could talk it would tell you it was conceived by the architectural firm Hartwell and Richardson and that it has siblings all over town: an older sister and the grand dame on Avon Hill, the dance complex on Mass Ave, and the beautiful brick First Baptist Church in Central Square.
Katherine Gamble and Frank Shirley
In 1865, after serving in the Union Army, Levi Hawkes opened a plumbing shop in Cambridgeport. Hawkes, the first owner, lived in this house designed by architect, John Webber. The house, in the Stick Style popular in its day, was finished in 1885 and signed on a piece of wood by the carpenter, perhaps ‘M. Dowe’ of Gloucester with the date, May 10, 1885. We have kept his signature in his honor.
This 150 year-old Greek Revival house has been owned by women from the day it was constructed circa 1862 and includes a secret stair and hidden 3rd floor closet.
Eliza McCann, widow and abolitionist, 1862 to circa 1920
Lucella Bates McCann (Daughter) circa 1920-until her death in 1972
Carol Jeanette Roberts (Lucella’s care giver and companion) 1972-1986
Margaret and Andrew Farrar 1986 to present
Another generation has now moved on as the Farrar’s children have left for San Francisco and Montreal having loved this house, this neighborhood, and this community deeply.
Andy, a toy maker and soccer coach, and Margaret, a chemist and teacher at CRLS, live here still with their 10-year-old dog Max and 16-year-old cat Bobbie, and a constant stream of visiting friends and family.
I was built in 1856 in the Italianate style based roughly on the medieval and renaissance architecture of northern Italy.The original owners were an apothecary and a cabinetmaker called Joseph Studley and William Tarbell. Once I was built, Mr. Studley sold his half for $3550. My flat-roofed additions were made in 1892.
The garage was added in 1927.”
When my current owner bought me in 1978, #42 and #44 had the youngest owners on the block. The two humans are still here, but now they are the oldest owners on the block.
Cambridgeport at the turn of the 20th century contained mostly descendants of Irish, Scottish, and English Catholics and Protestant backgrounds. It had a large number of immigrants from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The House located at 45/47 Magazine was built in 1838 as a duplex, two story home, the land was deeded to Jacob Nudd granted by the Dana family.
On the site of 55 Magazine Street was a two-story house built in 1847, the land was deeded to Francis Holmes, granted by the Dana Family. The house was razed in 1901. There were two other homes which occupied the rear parking lot. The garages were built in 1932 and 1946.
"The rent of the suites will vary from $26.00 to $46.00 per month.
The entrance will be finished in mahogany, and the vestibule in marble and marble dado. The rooms will be finished in oak, whitewood, cypress, or North Carolina Pine. The house will be equipped with an electric passenger elevator, incandescent electric lights, gas ranges in the kitchens, and gas logs in the parlors."
A portion of the Cambridge Chronicle dated March 1902:
"It will be up-to-date in every way, with hot-water heating, open plumbing, gas and electric fixtures, janitor service and other conveniences."
The Kensington was originally built the house 24 apartments, which contained 4,5,6, and 7 rooms the construction cost was about $40,000. The owner Edward A. Barnard also owned 45/47 Magazine Street.
A portion of the Cambridge Chronicle dated June 1902:
" In the basement are seven servants rooms which will be let as wanted in connection with any of the suites."
If this house could talk…. It would tell you that I have two birthdays!
My first—for the part with the Mansard roof—dates from 1886, when I was a 20’ sq carriage house built for the horses owned by Central Square grocer Francis Holmes (green house next door).
Ten years later, Mr. Holmes expanded the building into a proper home for his son Frank, with lighting fixtures plumbed for both gas and electricity.
Frank gained the entire yard in ‘29 when his father died and the property was divided.
The original coal-burning furnace (since converted to gas) still presides over the basement like a giant octopus.
84 Magazine Street
The house was built in 1867, when Cambridgeport itself was new, as swamp gave way to neighborhood. A bit more than two decades later, it was pretentiously renovated by John Hopewell, Jr., "a notable example of Yankee push and industry," according to the Cambridge Tribune of 1896. At the time of the renovation, Cambridge was so small that the newspaper reported on the expense and details of the work that would greet Mr. Hopewell when he "comes up from the seashore this fall." One change involved replacing the straight staircase in the front hall with a grander bending stair, darkly paneled and worthy of Teddy Roosevelt. Thanks to a devastating fire around 1939, the house spent about 65 years as a two-story structure; in 2006 the current owners restored the Addams-Family look. The roof edges are now often adorned by our dumb but daring marmalade cat -- a living gargoyle. GO BRUINS! GO HABS!
Hargreaves Associates is a landscape architecture firm.
We create a cohesive design aesthetic, leverage political support, determine financial feasibility, and craft construction detail for large scale parks, urban waterfronts, remediated brownfields, Green infrastructure and institutional campuses WORLDWIDE.
Notable projects directed from our desks here at 118 Magazine Street include:
London 2012 Olympic public domain, New Orleans Reinventing the crescent, Nashville Riverfront park, Long Bridge Park in Arlington VA, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Sydney 2000 Olympic park, Chattanooga 21st Century Waterfront, Louisville Riverfront park, and South Point Park in Miami.
The building itself was built in 1922 and served for many years as a Laundromat along with other unknown uses. In 1987 the building was redesigned, preserving the historical façade but modifying the interior space to accommodate design firms, with an open ‘studio’ floor plan, large windows, and an atrium for natural light.
Hargreaves has owned the building since 1998 and has shared the space with other design-related firms intermittently throughout that time.
If this house could talk it would say…I was designed by William Hovey and built by Henry Chamberlain for Daniel Chamberlain in 1855 in the Italianate-Bracketed style intended to suggest gracious villas of the Italian Lake Country. The Chamberlains were among the most successful businessmen of the Central Square of their day. When I was finished, I was one of only a few houses this close to the river and the extensive tidal marshes that reached to not far below where Chestnut Street is now.
In 1885 a carriage house was added in the back yard, large enough for two carriages and four horses. It has a slate roof from the long-closed Monson quarries in Maine, said to be among the best black slate in the world. It has been completely renovated as a single-family rental property and won Cambridge’s Renovation of the Year award in 1998.
Nowadays almost 10,000 flowers bloom in my yard in the spring. I hope that you will come back to see them.
I believe this building was originally built as a 6-unit apartment building because there is a brick firewall running from basement to roof.
1924 I. M. Kramer bought 129 & 131 Magazine Street.
At some point Louis Karp & Donald Reid bought #131 but lost it due to “breach of conditions of mortgage” – apparently they didn’t pay their taxes, which amounted to $8,000.
Pilgrim Trust sold it in 1938 to Leah & Herman Modest for (a very modest) $7,700. What a deal!
The next owner of record is Barbara Leavitt
In 1996, Andrew P. Bendetson of Merchant Financial Investment Corporation, bought and renovated the apartments, converting them into 7 condos (the 7th being added in the basement).
Since 1998 the building’s population has changed as young couples move in, have babies and then move on to larger homes.
We sometimes refer to our building as
The Shell gas station at 187 Magazine Street was built in 1930, two years before the Shell Oil Company moved its Northeast Regional Headquarters to 875 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, just over the Charles. The famous neon Shell sign, which is now a designated Cambridge landmark, was one of two spectacular, illuminated signs, built by Donnelly Electric Manufacturing Company of Boston in 1933, that used to sit atop of Shell’s 875 Comm. Ave. building. Pearl Street resident Bill Davis remembers when the sign was brought across the river and set up at the Shell filling station when Memorial Drive opened in 1948. Mr. Davis also remembers that his father, Richard Harding Davis (born in 1900), used to keep his small boat docked where the gas station is now located. During the early part of the twentieth century, long before either Shell building existed, the Charles was still controlled by the tides and Richard Davis’s boat would rise and fall at its mooring throughout the day.
Bill Davis and Alyssa Pacy
An outdoor bicycle racing track known as Charles River Park stood at this location at the turn of the 19th Century, during the peak of public enthusiasm for bicycling and bicycle racing. Constructed in 1896, it occupied a twenty-acre site bounded by Massachusetts Avenue, Albany Street, Landsdowne Street, and Pacific Street, not far from the Cambridgeport Cycle Club clubhouse and a concentration of bicycle shops on Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street that included the Waltham Manufacturing Company, maker of top racing bikes. The park was one of the top sporting venues in the region. Overflow crowds of 16,000 came to see the era’s professional racers competing on its oval track in accident-filled events ranging from mile sprints to nearly non-stop six-day races. In 1898, it was the site of an automobile speed and hill-climbing trial, at which a Stanley Steamer set an unofficial world speed record of 27 miles an hour. Charles River Park remained in operation at least until least until 1905, but was sold for industrial uses, becoming the site of the NECCO Candy factory.
Built in 2007, the Central Square Theater is the first home to The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater. The original facade of 450 was over 200 years old when it was replicated in 2007. Once, many years ago, this space was a stable for an Inn that housed folks that were traveling into Boston.
480 Massachusetts Avenue - The site of Old Mole Newspaper
The Old Mole was a bi-weekly radical newspaper published in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the 1969 student strike at Harvard, the newspaper began printing daily issues, some of which contained “liberated” official Harvard documents. One of the more controversial was a letter from Dean Franklin Ford to President Pusey regarding ways to get around a decision by the faculty to oppose the ROTC presence on campus.
I’m the Cambridgeport Odd Fellows Hall. My cornerstone was laid in 1884. The assembly room on my second floor seats 500. The Order of Odd Fellows originated in 18th Century England, where its members were considered odd for devoting themselves to the welfare of others in an era without a social safety net. It arrived on these shores in 1819 as a secret society dedicated to helping others and promoting community happiness. Cambridgeport’s chapter, the Friendship Lodge, formed in 1843. Our membership has waxed and waned. Its low point came during the late 1840s and early 50s, when many Americans were hostile to secret societies, but in this, our 50th anniversary year, we have 367 members who bring aid to the poor and afflicted and financial assistance to members who are sick and to their widows.
Written by Richard Garver
I’m still the Odd Fellows Hall, now an anchor in what’s called Central Square. Over the years, my members and the Rebekahs decided to leave me to others. I’ve had clothing and shoe stores, chiropractors and hairdressers. For a few years, I was even part of a health club/dance chain, filled with lycra clad singles and wanna be jazz dancers. The past twenty years have been my best ever. All my rooms are used by dancers; the rates are as affordable as possible. There’s even a barter system where dancers can take class here and not have to pay. And my lobby has never been so welcoming. I lost my top floor kitchen a few years ago, but the food smelled weird. And now, I have a white roof! I love being cutting edge in the arts and in saving the environment. That’s not too odd, is it?
Rozann Kraus, President
The Dance Complex
This Harvest Co-op Market store started in 1974 as Cambridge Food Co-op across the street at 580 Mass Ave, in the basement where the art store is now.
Cambridge Food Co-op joined together with the Boston Food Co-op (started in 1971) in 1980’s. Now part of a two-store operation with a store in Jamaica Plain, we are now open to the public 7 days a week.
Cooperatives are owned by local members to serve their needs, in our case, food. Profits are returned to the membership or to the community.
Supporting your co-op is supporting your community.
Clear Conscience Cafe opened in 2007, replacing the Cafe at Harvest.
Riverside Boat Club was founded in 1869 by printers, many of them Irish immigrants, from The Riverside Press. In addition to making rowing available to the working people of Cambridgeport, the club was a center of local social and political life. This building, its third, was built within the new Captain’s Island (Magazine Beach) Park in 1912 after its second was acquired by the city for the parkway. True to its origins, Riverside today is a member-run non-profit offering affordable rowing from the highest competitive to recreational levels. For information, visit www.riversideboatclub.com.
The Descendants of King Solomon in Cambridgeport?
Starting as no more than a trickle in the mid-40’s, today Ethiopians (and yes, Eritreans – the conflict at the Horn of Africa is, they argue, purely political) are a familiar sight in the center of Cambridgeport. Mechanics like Arraya Negash and Variety Store owner-operators like the Taye family (purveyors of fine victuals by appointment, presumably, of the Queen of Sheba) started out life as typical tradesmen on, in this case, Pearl Street. But with the thousand yard stare of a people who have seen entire dynasties come and go, some of Solomon’s descendants put down roots in Cambridgeport and, over time, acquired a reputation for steadfastness, honesty and courtesy. How many other shopkeepers are there who bow their heads and offer real thanks to the departing shopper?
Customers fancying Ethiopian food can, if they are looking for Teff to make Injira, Minar or Juwar flour (barley or sorghum), berbere and shiroh powder (the basis of the trademark sauces in dorowat and its derivatives), incense and Ethiopian coffee, find all the necessaries at the Pearl Street Market, each carefully identified in…Amharic (with no ‘English sub-titles!).
The considerable quantity of the displayed basic foods would suggest that they are in great demand as, apparently, they are. But other than the stream of extended family members who come in to natter about the timeless struggle for control of the Ogaden, the state of play in South Sudan, the politics of the Somali draught, or just to listen to the latest CD from Addis, they seem to differ from other minorities in not forging tight little communities.
Why? One of the Taye family had an explanation. “We are”, he said, “a proud and self-sufficient people and probably a bit more educated than many who emigrated from the African Continent. Running a business is part of our DNA. Other Ethiopians are, to us, either potential customers or potential competitors, in other words just other people, no more, no less.” Perhaps so but empirically-supported evidence suggests otherwise. Negash’s garage and the Pearl Street Market are recognized meeting places for Ethiopians who, because they have no Greek Social Club, no bus outings, no raffles, tend to flock to the shops. Nothing like a few sacks of Teff to make one feel at home.
I’ve been around since 1921 but, like Topsy, I growed. I started life as a small single story shop owned by a Jewish fella named **** who sold mostly deli-type things plus the basics out of a space that was half what it is today. Then, in the early 30’s, Fillios, a Greek, bought me. In those days, William Street was mostly Greek anyway. Fillios built me up one story to make living space for his family and back to expand the shop.
I was a grand shop in those days, OK, the only one in Cambridgeport, but a real grocery store write large, better even than the ones on Mass Ave. according to long time resident, Efi Papadopoulos. Fillios ran me until 1974 when his son, Andreas, was robbed and shot dead by known criminal from Western Ave. The pleasure in running me gone, Fillios leased me to his cousin, Costa Sioras who carried on for another 10 years until “Joe”, the Korean, bought me.
No ethno-centric, he, Joe catered not just to the Koreans and Greeks in the neiighborhood but also to all the many other ethnic groups. By then, my space had become a sort of meeting ground for one and all so the shop was usually full of people of every description and ethnic origin who came in to buy, chat or just get in out of the wind blowing up from the river.
Finally, in 1997, the Taye family from Ethiopia bought my space and have run me as a family affair ever since. While they have cut back on the variety of things for sale, they do a brisk Lotto business and sell such Ethiopian exotics as berbere, injirat, teff and, yes, frankincense.
It is on my corner that the 7:50 school bus stops so every day you will see kids coming in and out of me, as often as not, munching or chewing my wares. And oh yes, the visitor will notice something from the past. On the shelf behind the counter there is a forest of sports trophies that date back to the 1970’s when Fillios used to sponsor sports events at the Morissey School. And the winners? Greeks and Irish of course. Where have all the flowers gone?
Built in early 1800’s, this modest house was home to 7 people for over 60 years. Elisha Perkins was a cooper at Boston wharf in South Boston. He and his wife Caroline raised 4 children in this house which a that time only had four rooms and an outhouse. One son was graduated from Harvard University and went on to become an architect. The other son was a cabinet maker and the two daughters never married or left home. I purchased the house in 1978.
107 Pearl Street has always been a worker’s cottage and still is.
This place belonged to 'Angelina' the minstrel singing, high stepping snow cone seller who, it seems, owned this place in the 40's & 50’s? Would like to find out about this house's earliest history 1880's... some day!
John Michael Speridakis
United States Army, KIA World War II
John Michael Speridakis is a son of Cambridge who was killed in action fighting against the Nazi Wehrmacht in World War II. To all his many friends he was Mike, the son of John Speridakis and Christine Marcodimi-trakis. Both parents were born in Crete but they did not meet until a matchmaker introduced them in Cambridge. John died when he was only 38, leaving his widow with three young children: Mike, who was five when his Father passed away in 1929, Tony who was 6 and Irene who was just 4.
Life was tough in the Depression 1930’s and the family experienced hard times. They lived on Pearl Terrace (later renamed for Mike). Most of the neighbors were Greek and they were able to help some, but the kids had to pitch in. After Tony drowned in a accident at Magazine Beach when he was only 14, a lot of the burden fell on Mike. He left Cambridge High and Latin after his second year and started working at a tobacco company on Massachusetts Avenue. When the war started, Mike left that job and went to work in the Navy Yard Charlestown where he received an award that honored the Yard for the speed with which they built ships for the war effort.
Mike was drafted into the United States Army in March 1943 and killed in November of the same year. He was just 20 years old. It appears from Army records that Mike was killed in combat, probably as a result of stepping on a land mine in The Battle of Hürtgen Forest. This is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces in the Hũrtgen forest, which cost the First United States Army at least 33,000 killed and incapacitated. The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought in its history. The battles took place between September 14, 1944, and February 10, 1945. George D. Callender of Cambridge, who is honored with a sign at the corner of Putnam Avenue and Callender Street, died in the same battle. They would have gone to high school together, but they did not fight in the same unit. George Callender was black and the Army was segregated until Harry Truman ordered integration in 1953.
Mike’s family brought his body home from a US military cemetery in Belgium in 1949. He was reburied in Cambridge Cemetery. His sister Irene went to Hyman Pill from Cambridgeport, the Central Square hardware store owner, who was then on the Cambridge City Council, with a petition signed by most of the people on Pearl Terrace. Councilor Pill took care of changing the street name to Speridakis Terrace in honor of Michael Speridakis, a Cambridge hero.
Irene Sakillaris, Mike’s sister, is now aged 87 and lives in Peabody, Mass. She is the source of this information and the pictures. She told it to John Shetterly of Magazine Street at Putnam, who made this sign.
Pearl Street and Speridakis Terrace
If this street could talk it would tell you that it began life in 1904 as “Pearl Terrace.” Originally occupied by ironworkers and millhands, this street has been home to some real characters over the years: a 1913 teenager sent to the Industrial Home for Boys after a tea shop heist, a spirited 1929 bride who changed her mind on her wedding day, and a 1956 amateur cave spelunker who sparked a California search party when he neglected to tell his friends he was popping home to Speridakis for the weekend!
Don’t miss this street’s cameo appearance on the Wikipedia entry for “triple decker.”
This house was built in 1870 for a foreman of the Kennedy Biscuit Factory. Originally, the house and its barn occupied the entire corner lot. It was moved to its current location around 1900, when the brick apartment building was constructed.
Our house was built in 1891. We replaced much of the front siding in 11-2006. We found these old News papers stuffed in the cracks, " THE ELECTRICAL WORLD Progress in Electricity and its Practical Application-03-28-1891" The above is some the advertisements and it is a 1891 Time Capsule. Maybe the person who stuffed this in cracks of our house was trying to communicate how people viewed Electricity and how it gave hope of better lives and jobs.
THE ELECTRICAL WORLD Progress in Electricity and its Practical Application-03-28-1891
Brian D. Campbell
My origins are obscure. I first show up on the 1854 survey map as the only house between Putnam Ave and the river. I face the water, not the street.
I am a worker's cottage. I was owned by Clara and Uriah Butland, an expressman who kept his animals in the barn in back (now 7 Tufts Street).
Richard Mandel and Judy Motzkin have lived here for over 30 years.
I have a psycho-room in the basement from the 40's, with a Pacific Tiki theme.
Captain George Thomas Southward owner of Southward Leather Goods –In 1870 after spending years at sea as a merchant ship captain, George Thomas Southward settled in Cambridge, built his home at 346 Pearl Street, and started his business, Southward Leather Goods. The store, located on Massachusetts Avenue between Pearl and Brookline Streets, sold boots and shoes. Captain Southward’s daughter, Laura (Lottie) married Gilford Hatfield Davis, a Canadian school teacher who owned an Arlington “truck farm” that sold vegetables each week at Haymarket in Boston. After Lottie and Gilford lost two young daughters to diphtheria, they left the quarantined Arlington farm and opened a flower shop, Davis’s Florists, in the recently vacated Southward Leather Goods – Captain Southward had by that time retired. Lottie and Gilford lived above the store for several years until they moved to 346 Pearl Street. At one point in the early part of the twentieth century, Gilford was offered a deal to purchase half the block on Massachusetts Avenue where his store was located for $2,000. He declined as $2,000 was a fortune he didn’t have.
Bill Davis, George Thomas Southward’s great grandson, and Alyssa Pacy
In 1870, Sea Captain George Thomas Southward settled in Cambridge and built his home at 346 Pearl Street, which was the last house on the street before the cow pasture began where the present-day Morse Elementary School is located. Constructed at the same time as the house and set far back from the road, the barn kept the family’s horses, used for transportation. According to Captain Southward’s great grandson and Pearl Street resident Bill Davis, most of the neighborhood had barns to keep animals like horses and chicken. Bill’s grandfather, Gilford Hatfield Davis, used to buy his horses from the Boston Elevated Railway, the horse-drawn trolley precursor to the MBTA. The retired trolley horses, stabled in the barn, were the Davis family’s primary mode of transportation. The barn was demolished after the family sold the plot of land that would eventually become 350 Pearl Street.
Bill Davis and Alyssa Pacy
9 Perry Street was built in the early 1860s, most likely during the Civil War. During the mid 1900s asphalt shingles covered the original wood siding which were removed at the turn of this century when the present owners also added a 2-story addition on the rear of the building, making it a reasonable family home and social center. The lovely pine tree, brought from New Hampshire in the '60s is now a stubby resemblance of the tall and spreading tree that it once was, due to recent winter storm damage.
William J. Dowd, who was listed in the city directory as a peddler, bought this property from Elizabeth Dana in 1868 and built the house the same year. The stable was added a year later.
William Dowd died in 1873. The 1873 atlas shows that his heirs owned this property as well as 13 and 15 Perry Street next door. (Both of those houses were built in 1876.) The 1874 city directory listed Eliza A. Dowd, widow of William J. Dowd, as boarding at 18 Perry Street.
The Walshs bought the property in 1974 and lived here until 1995, when we bought it.
Jeff, Shary, Julia, Nina Berg
In 1971 a march was organized to celebrate International Womens Day. When the crowd reached Pearl Street, they took a turn from the official march route and walked to a semi-abandoned Harvard building at 888 Memorial Drive. The women occupied the building for 10 days, declaring it a women’s center and using the protest as a way to highlight gender inequality and lack of space for women in Cambridge. This event gained national fame and was considered a landmark in second wave feminism. Many of the organizers went on to found the Women’s Center in Cambridge.
Cambridge was a center of opposition to the Vietnam War. On this site, there once was a coffee house run by the Boston Draft Resistance Group. They would attend induction ceremonies and cause disturbances. At one of these protests, a Sgt. Brown tried to intervene and in the scuffle, his clip-on tie was pulled off and carried back to Cambridge as a trophy. Following that the Coffee House was renamed “The Sgt. Brown Memorial Neck Tie Coffee House.”
Built in 1851 in Italianate style with a hexagonal cupola and carriage house next door. Remodeled in 1889 with a Queen Anne porch, corner turret, round window and bay. Mid 1960s and 1970s, modern additions, like the large shed dormers.
The original owner was John F. Dyer, whose business was shipping. Since then it’s been A Home for Little Wanderers, a Jesuit Home and since 1978 a 5-family home to households of peace and justice activists giving birth to the Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force (FACT), the Foster Equality Campaign, Millions for Martin, world travelers and Cambridge youth needing a second home.
Catherine B. Hoffman
George Duncan Leopold Callendar
United States Army, KIA World War II
George D. Callender (or Callendar) is a son of Cambridge who was killed in action fighting against the Nazi Wehrmacht in World War II. He was born February 3, 1923 of parents who came here from “Barbadoes,” according to his Birth Certificate. He entered the United States Army not long after his graduation from Rindge Technical High School. His official Army portrait appeared in the Chronicle in a front-page story describing his death in battle in Italy on February 9, 1945, at the age 22 years and 6 days. Notwithstanding what appeared in the newspaper, it appears that he may have been killed in The Battle of Hürtgen Forest. This is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during WWII in the Hũrtgen forest, which cost the First United States Army at least 33,000 killed and incapacitated. The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought in its history. The battles took place between September 14, 1944, and February 10, 1945.
Another Cambridge soldier, Mike Speridakis, was killed in The Battle of Hürtgen Forest. They were about the same age and would have gone to high school together. But they would not have given their lives fighting in the same unit. The Army was segregated at the time. George Callender was in an African American unit and Mike Speridakis was in a white unit. The United States military was not desegregated until President Harry Truman acted at the time of the Korean War in 1952.
John Shetterly of Magazine Street at Putnam (617/547-1717), made this sign.
I was built in 1869 and am an example of Italianate design.I've had several additions,including a back hall in 1886,a side bay window in 1874 and a side front room with bay window in 1916.
I was first owned by the Dilloway family,then the Houghton family for over 40 years. I was purchased in 1930 by the Serino family who sold me in 1965 to Ed and Dianne Rice, the current owners.
I was once a parsonage for a neighborhood church.
Ed and Diane Rice
Cambridgeport Baptist Church
"May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing his will and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever." Hebrews 13:20-21
Pastor Dan Szatkowski
A Word About Cambridgeport’s Gangs
Anyone around Cambridgeport in the late 50’s will confirm that the “hood” belonged to the gangs. For some, that meant white-to-the-lips terror for anyone foolhardy enough to take a stroll in the area between Western Avenue and Brookline Street. For others, it was all show, just a bit of local color, something that the predominantly Irish police who kept a watchful eye on things back then were easily able to manage. Some of the local constabulary used soft power and saw their role as staying in close contact with the parents. Others, like the Harley riding “Buster Burnes”, acknowledged as the toughest cop in Cambridge, knocked heads together first and asked questions later.
The streets, or so this latter group claims today, were a lot safer a half-century ago than they are now. But neither side would dispute the existence of the gangs. The area east of Western Avenue was “Coast” territory whereas the “Knights” were the undisputed rulers of Pleasant Street. Anyone living in the Brookline-Putnam district genuflected before the “Greasy Village,” considered to be the toughest of the lot with their connections to the tracks and the bookies.
Several Greasy Village gang members were known to idle away the sleepy summer days by exercising their 2nd Amendment rights as snipers. Their targets? The radio gear of competing bookies known to operate out of certain buildings with unobstructed, line of sight transmitting potential. The would-be snipers of today would need pretty powerful scopes to decimate the smartphone phone technology of today. The Augean stables come to mind…
Putnum Avenue and Waverly Street - Greasy Village
Longtime residents of Cambridgeport remember when various smells would waft through the neighborhood– some good like the piccalilli relish made by the Heinz factory on Memorial Drive between Vassar and Applebee (which no longer exists) and some bad like the manufacturing of soap by John Reardon & Sons located next to Fort Washington. John Reardon founded his soap and candle manufacturing business in 1856. In addition, the company exported tallow to Europe for soap making, and for a time, made oleomargarine oil and butter. The Reardon Soap Works factory was built in 1878 at the corner of Putnum Avenue and Waverly Street and during its height, employed over 100 workers. Pearl Street resident Bill Davis’s father, Richard Harding Davis, would tell his son how this area of Cambridgeport came to be known as “Greasy Village” because “the bones and cook fat being transported for rendering at Reardon’s would slip off the horse-drawn trucks and lie in the streets.” When Reardon’s was making soap, “the stink would fill the entire neighborhood.”
Bill Davis and Alyssa Pacy
If this office could talk it would tell you that Jeff Rosenblum and Larry Slotnick started an advocacy group in 2005 to change the way we think about urban transportation and to demand a balance of biking, walking and public transit with automobile use, making the Boston region a better place to live, work and play.
Over the past 6 years, the office has held many events which have attracted thousands of people from all over Metro Boston and the world. Some guests include Mayor of Bogota Columbia Enrique Penalosa, Zipcar founder Robin Chase, Streetfilm Director Clarence Eckerson, architect and visionary Jan Gehl and many more. It was in this office that the advocacy plan was created to win the first bicycle lane in the city of Boston on Commonwealth Ave and the first developer’s initiative meeting was held to launch the real-time apps (Catch the Bus, Catch the T) and many more.
For more info visit: www.livablestreets.info
We hope to see you at our next event!
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It would remember animals belonging to Uriah Butland.
It would remember a roofer, then a plumber, and a potter.
There used to be a stream running under it. Evidence of it is seen in the sinking and tilting of many buildings here, built on compressing peat.
Tufts Street gets its name from Peter Tufts who was the keeper of the powder house at Magazine Beach. He lived at the other end.
7 Tufts Street - RH Davis Moving Company
Between 1920 and 1932, George Davis and Harold Davis, Pearl Street resident Bill Davis’s uncles, owned a moving company. At the time, the Davis brothers used horse and mule-drawn trucks for their moving operation and 7 Tufts Street is the barn where the horses and mules were stabled. The grey building is the original barn and has since been turned into apartments. By 1933, Bill Davis’s father, Richard Harding Davis, took over ownership his brothers’ moving company, and renamed it RH Davis Moving Company. When Richard Davis replaced the horses with gasoline-powered trucks, he garaged the vehicles in warehouses on Erie and Decatur Streets.
Bill Davis and Alyssa Pacy
“Beat the Belt”
In the early 60’s, a scheme was being studied to bring traffic off a road that was to replace the main east-west railway line that, much later, became the Mass Pike. It was to cross the trestle beside what people back then called the “Cottage Farm Bridge” (today the BU Bridge), down a “connector” – Brookline Street! – and terminate with an off ramp that was to replace William Street.
A group of outraged Italians, Irish and Greek families – William Street residents - each one speaking heatedly in his/her respective language, shouted “fuori”, “beat it”, and “endoxi”. Aware as they were that more than passion was going to be necessary to “fight city hall”, they decided to fight back in a more compelling way.
In what was a stroke of genius, they insisted that the many mid-1800’s on the street rightfully belonged in the Historic Registry and thus placed definitively beyond the reach of the wrecking ball. Big challenges must, after all, be met with big solutions (Washington, take note). They made and distributed lapel buttons that read “BEAT THE BELT” and took to marching around the neighborhood muttering threats to those responsible if the idea went through. Those concerned didn’t need Berlitz translators to understand their meaning.
Many things conspired to put a stop to the project – money, inertia, conflicting goals – but the William Street melting pot, insignificant to some perhaps, made enough of a nuisance of themselves to be able, at the end of it all, to raise a glass and toast their perseverance. The street’s residents of today do likewise.