The Cambridge Trotting Park: Part 1

This post is the first in a series of four written by guest author, Dan Sullivan, owner of The Book Oasis in Stoneham.


Part 1

Just a casual glance at an 1854 map of the city makes it clear that North Cambridge was a very different place than it is today. Now the map is crowded with streets, and the houses on them are built on small lots. Massachusetts Avenue is lined with businesses. By contrast, 1854 shows an area with very few streets. Most business in the area consist of a few farms and the brick industry. The one area that is beginning to show some ‘crowding’ is the village of Dublin, which is made up of Rindge Avenue, Sargent Street, and Dublin (now Sherman) Street. Few landmarks would be recognizable by a modern visitor. The most prominent feature on that map is something that has left little trace on today’s landscape; the Cambridge Trotting Park.

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Aerial view of Northwest Cambridge, 2019

From 1837 until 1855 North Cambridge had a sports arena that often drew thousands of spectators and had such a high level of talent that it regularly generated national news. Famous horses such as Black Hawk and Lady Suffolk raced on the track. The strange thing is, it got almost no coverage from the Cambridge Chronicle, and the stories that did appear in that paper seldom focused on the actual sporting events. Many did not even mention them.

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H.F. Walling & Co. map of Northwest Cambridge, 1854

The course was one mile around and followed a route that was just inside what are now Rindge Avenue, Harvey and Cedar streets, and about one hundred feet beyond Clifton Street. The name ‘Trotting Park’ is slightly misleading. Yes, that was the principal type of event held on the course but not the exclusive type. Besides being the site of multiple types of horse racing, the park also hosted many foot races, or what was known at the time as ‘Pedestrianism.’ I have found descriptions of a greased pig chase, two boxing matches, and multiple mixed event ‘handicapped’ races. In addition to these there was one event that came close to what we would call a track and field meet today. It consisted of a hammer throw, a mile run, and the one-hundred–yard dash with other less traditional events.

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Beadle’s dime hand-book of pedestrianism : giving the rules for training and practice in walking, running, leaping, vaulting, etc., etc. Together with a full account of the great Weston feat, 1867

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Detail of ‘Running’ section, Beadle’s hand-book, 1867

My principal sources for information for these events are out of state newspapers. Why, you might ask, would these papers cover the events at the Cambridge Trotting Park and yet the hometown paper almost completely ignore them? The answer was an ethical one. You see, the principal activity at the Park was not sports competition, but rather the gambling that took place on those events, and Cambridge in the 1800’s would rather have ignored that.

Check back next week for Part 2…

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Modern Monday: Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street

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Completed in 1960, the Loeb Drama Center at 64 Brattle Street stands as one of Cambridge’s greatest examples of Modern Architecture. The structure is human-scaled, made of regional materials and is a sensitive addition to its residential and commercial neighbors along Brattle Street. The scale of the building was reduced to blend in with adjacent heights and the use of New England waterstruck brick is a nod to the Harvard and Radcliffe buildings nearby. Exposed concrete serves as a sort of frame to the delicate ornamental grille which provides a lace-like effect, enhanced further at night when the light from inside the building shines through.

Exterior View of Loeb Drama Center_night_Radcliffe College ArchivesExterior View: Harvard - Loeb Drama Center, 29 Brattle Street

Architect Hugh Stubbins wanted the theater to be architecturally exciting, while still serving as a backdrop to the purpose of the building, the arts. Stubbins was quoted as saying, “the auditorium should please the imagination in such a way as to release it, not captivate it” and later went on to reference examples of recent museums and art galleries erected by architects to overshadow the art within them.

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The building opens right off the sidewalk of Brattle Street by the way of deep setbacks off the first floor, forming a porch-like or arcade feeling. The sides of the building open to a garden court on one side and a spacious terrace on the other. The travertine flooring in the lobby extends gracefully to the brick-paved courtyard, contained by a red brick serpentine wall.

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The theater was unveiled as a mechanical marvel as the first fully-automatic and flexible theatre in the United States. The audience’s position in relation to the stage, along with the position and shape of the stage itself could be altered between three main configurations: theater-in-the-round, proscenium, and arena seating, all possibly during the same performance. Yale’s noted stage technician and theater design engineer, George C. Izenour worked with Stubbins to integrate lighting, rigging and staging into an automated and hydraulic lift system, which could be altered and staged by just two people in mere minutes.

The Loeb Drama Center is now home to The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, which collaborates with artists around the world to develop and create work in new ways. To learn more about A.R.T. and their upcoming shows and events, check out their website at: https://americanrepertorytheater.org/

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Color slide courtesy of CHC Staff.

Historic photos courtesy of Radcliffe College Archives and CHC slides.

Igor Fokin Memorial Sculpture, One Brattle Square

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Since the 1970s, summer evenings in Harvard Square have featured a vibrant street theater scene. In 1985, a major subway construction project that extended the Red Line subway to Alewife was completed, resulting in major changes above ground, including wider sidewalks and small plazas, that created even more opportunities for busking (Lotman, Harvard Square, An Illustrated History Since 1950, 2009). Performers ranged from jugglers, mimes, tightrope walkers, and fire eaters, to musicians and singers. This dynamic street performance culture continues today.

igorshowcourtesy of http://www.igorfokin.com

In the early 1990s, one performer stood out as a unique and remarkably gifted entertainer. From 1993 to 1996, Igor Fokin enchanted people with his life-like marionettes that mesmerized young and old alike as they danced, played, and interacted with the audience. Igor hand-carved his wooden puppets who ranged from dancing skeletons, a witch sweeping up the sidewalk, to a puppet named Doo-Doo with a fluted nose, and Satchmo playing his trumpet to the song Mack the Knife. Each puppet, measuring less than 12 inches, was elaborately detailed and truly came to life under Igor’s nimble handling, when climbing up someone’s leg, petting someone’s nose, or sitting on a child’s lap.

castcolorcourtesy of http://www.igorfokin.com

Born in Russia and a graduate of St. Petersburg Theatrical Institute, Igor moved to Cambridge in the summer of 1993 with his collection of puppets, and by the end of the summer he was one of the most popular performers. Igor put on several shows a day, including passers-by in the late afternoon and culminating in the evening with a large audience who purposely came out to see his show. He was always refining his craft and developing new characters for his street performances which he referred to as the “most democratic art form” (Schmidt, The Puppeteer, 2003).

igorandcastcourtesy of http://www.igorfokin.com

Igor performed in Harvard Square until his untimely death in 1996 at the age of 36. Today, at the corner of One Brattle Square, where Igor enjoyed performing the most, a bronze replica of Doo-Doo by sculptor Konstantin Simun is perched on a bollard, a permanent reminder of Igor’s joyful imagination and the delight he brought to everyone lucky enough to experience his magical world.

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Sources
Lotman, Mo. Harvard Square, An Illustrated History Since 1950. Abrahms, 2009.

Schmidt, Chris, and Gary Henoch, The Puppeteer, 2003, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ2gizaqVw8

http://www.igorfokin.com

Modern Monday: Charter House Motor Hotel

Today’s Modern Monday posting is highlighting the Charter House Motor Hotel (now Royal Sonesta Boston). Completed in 1963, the first tower, with its zig-zag shape was developed by the Hotel Corporation of America, led by founder A.M. “Sonny” Sonnabend.

Charter House Survey photo

Sonnabend decided to locate the company’s first ever high-rise motor hotel in the United States in Cambridge due to its location near transportation routes, businesses, universities and proximity to the downtown Boston area. To stand out from competition, the motor hotel required high quality design, ample parking, and interior amenities including: televisions, radios, air-conditioning, and complete hotel services for all rooms. The word “Motel” was created as a blending of the words “motor” and “hotel” and has since served as a defining piece of roadside architectural history.

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The Hotel Corporation of America was renamed Sonesta International Hotels Corporation in 1970. Due to the success and location of the Sonesta Hotel on Cambridge Parkway in East Cambridge, the Sonesta Corporation began planning for a renovation and addition to the hotel, doubling the amount of rooms and enhancing facilities for the modern traveler. Architect John T. Olson designed a Post-Modern tower to stand next to the 60’s Modernist hotel. Boston Globe’s architectural critic at the time, Robert Campbell called the original tower an “upended waffle” and noted that the later addition was the region’s first large-scale Post-Modern development.

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The Post-Modern tower addition features large expanses of brick and is distinguished by the gabled features at the roof. John Olson, the head architect explained the design and goal as wanting to make a hotel that would look house-like and more domestic than institutional. The triangular gable shape was seen as a symbol for the idea of a house and was repeated both inside and outside of the addition. The pediments over the slightly projecting wings, resemble the long expanses of rowhouses which are synonymous to Boston architecture. Besides red brick, the main cladding material on the building is a green tile, which was selected to resemble the patinaed green copper seen elsewhere in Cambridge and Beacon Hill, just over the Charles River.

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The two towers stand proudly at the entrance of Cambridge from Boston and showcase how far architectural taste can change in a matter of 20 years. Globe writer, Campbell stated that “The new wing of the former Sonesta Hotel on the Charles River stands next to its predecessor as if the two were a pair of slides chosen by a professor of art history to illustrate just how far architectural taste can travel in a single generation”. Which wing do you prefer?

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Full view

Historic Building Feature Friday: Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1884, Austin Hall at Harvard University stands out as one of the best examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in the world.

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Austin Hall in 2012 showing circular stair and arched entry. Courtesy of Harvard University Fine Arts Collection.

Austin Hall was constructed thanks to Edward Austin who was born to a commercial family. He entered the shipping business at a young age and later turned to management of railroads, ending up as the Director of the Boston & Worcester (later Boston & Albany) railroad. In 1880, without ever attending Harvard University, he inquired then Harvard President Eliot on how he could provide for the greatest immediate need for the university while also erecting a memorial to his deceased brother Samuel. Eliot replied that the Law School required expanded facilities. Austin then replied to Eliot that he detested lawyers, but later offered funding for the structure.

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Edward Austin circa. 1860.

In 1882, after already hiring H.H. Richardson, settling on a location for the building, and approving a design, Austin offered Harvard $135,000 to construct his building, with the stipulation that no other structure stand within 60 feet of this new Law School building. The former Harvard Branch Railroad Station and the ca. 1717 Moses Richardson house were razed immediately. The building was constructed with the Hastings-Holmes house  nearby, until Austin insisted that the house be sacrificed and offered Harvard an additional $3,000 to have it removed. Holmes Place, which Austin Hall fronted, was eliminated.

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Austin Hall (left) shortly after completion with Hastings-Holmes house (right) in front before demolition.

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Austin Hall in early 1900s. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

The elaborate structure known as Austin Hall is planned in a T-shape with the two-story reading room serving as the shaft of the T. The main façade is dominated by a triple-arched entry porch and a circular stair tower. The checkerboard and floral patterns in the stone work are comprised of light and dark sandstone, and were not complete until after the formal opening of the new building.

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Plan for Austin Hall. Courtesy of Harvard Law School Library.

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Exterior sandstone detail with floral pattern. Courtesy of Harvard University Fine Arts Collection.

The interior is just as stunning as the exterior with continuation of arches and supports in the hallways to the delicate layering of brick and sandstone. The reading room (since remodeled into the Ames Courtroom in 1954), features exposed tie beams carved with the heads of dragons and boars as well as a massive fireplace with ornate detailing to match the rest of the building.

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Interior detailing. Courtesy of Harvard University Fine Arts Collection.

For more information on this building, feel free to schedule a research appointment with us at histcomm@cambridgema.gov.

Fig Newtons and the Kennedy Biscuit Company

Today is National Fig Newton Day!

In 1892, Philadelphia native and bakery machinery expert James Henry Mitchell patented a device that could simultaneously create a cookie dough and its filling–a small pie with jam or preserves surrounded by dough. Mitchell persuaded the Kennedy Biscuit Company of Cambridgeport to try his new machine and shipped one to Massachusetts. Soon, the company began mass-producing the fig cakes at their factory. The company dubbed this new concoction, then marketed as a nutritional cake, the Fig Newton–so named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts. Later, the Kennedy Biscuit Company and the New York Biscuit company merged to form Nabisco, which still manufactures the cookie as simply “Newtons.” Following Nabisco’s move to New Jersey, the plant was occupied by Fenton Shoe Company and was later purchased by MIT. Today, the building has been converted into mixed-income housing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Entrance to the courtyard of the Kennedy Biscuit Lofts at 129 Franklin Street

The Bakery Oven
One of Frank Kennedy’s many innovations was the use of the reel oven. This type of oven allowed a continuous baking process which both increased production capacity and improved product quality. The original reel ovens were powered by a 50-horsepower steam engine. Located directly in front of you is one of the original six ovens with a new internal assembly suggestive of the very first reel oven.

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Rendering of the Kennedy Biscuit Company reel oven introduced in 1869 by Frank Kennedy. The oven was incorporated in the building’s renovation and can still be seen today.

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The Bakery Buildings
In 1875, the first brick structure was erected on this site. Cambridgeport was experiencing rapid growth as it shifted its economic base from trade to heavy industry. Twelve separate additions were erected between 1875 and 1937, and the 250,000-square-foot complex employed up to 650 people.

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North side of the Kennedy Biscuit Lofts in 2019

Nabisco moved its operations to New Jersey, and the Fenton Shoe Company occupied the building from 1956 through 1986. The building was subsequently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and won the 1990 Preservation Award for its conversion from a factory to mixed-income housing.

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Gate post of the Kennedy Biscuit Lofts featuring a cracker-like design plaque.

The Biscuit Company
In 1805, the Kennedy family started in the bakery business. Forty years later, Artemas Kennedy moved the business from Milton, Massachusetts and built a wood frame building on the Cambridgeport site. Steam power was introduced to the production process in 1855. Artemis’s son, Frank A. Kennedy, took over the business shortly thereafter, and the bakery was renamed the “F.A. Kennedy Steam Cracker Bakery.”

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Kennedy Steam Bakery card, ca. 1910. CHC Postcard Collection.

In 1890, Frank Kennedy merged his bakery with the New York Biscuit Company, which later merged with the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco).

Frank Kennedy served on Nabisco’s Board of Trustees until his death.

The Bakery Products
The Kennedy Bakery product line consisted of three cracker types – soda, butter, and sugar – as well as several varieties of cakes and cookies. Familiar names include Lorna Doone, Arrowroot and Social Tea. Other Nabisco products include the still-popular Oreo cookie.

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Gate post of the Kennedy Biscuit Lofts featuring cracker and cookie details.

In 1892, a device that extruded dough into a continuous tubular shape was purchased by the company. After experimenting with various fillings for this cookie sandwich, Frank Kennedy finally selected a brand of his fig preserves. It had been the company’s custom to name its new products after local towns – Fig Cambridge and Fig Shrewsbury were considered as possibilities for this new invention. However, an employee who lived in nearby Newton suggested the name of his hometown instead. Thus, a famous snack was born, the “Fig Newton.”

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Fig Newton advertisement, date unknown. From The New York Times article “The Newtons Cookie Goes Beyond the Fig” (30 April 2012).


Sources:

Cahn, William. Out of the Cracker Barrel: The Nabisco Story, From Animal Crackers to Zuzus. Simon and Schuster, 1969.

Historical exhibit located in the lobby of the Kennedy Biscuit Lofts, 129 Franklin Street, Cambridge.

Modern Monday: Putnam Furniture Company

For today’s #ModernMonday post, we are highlighting 1045 Mass Ave, the former Putnam Furniture Company store in Cambridge. The building was constructed in 1946 from plans by well-known Cambridge architect, William L. Galvin. The design could be classified as early International-style architecture with influence from Art Deco and Moderne designs-built pre-WWII. The white plaster, glass blocks on the second story and neon signage immediately drew in shoppers who were looking to furnish their homes during the post-WWII housing boom. Interior programming of the store separated furniture departments into rooms from bathrooms and kitchens to “Storkland”, which offered a complete assortment of baby and children’s accessories and furniture.

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Putnam Furniture Company circa 1946. Photo courtesy of Carl Barron.

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Putnam Furniture Company storefront lit up at night circa 1946. Photo courtesy of Carl Barron.

Putnam Furniture Company began in 1939 when founder, Carl F. Barron created the first furniture leasing company in the United States. The business began in two adjacent 1,200 square foot spaces in Putnam Square, one being a showroom and the other providing storage. Barron personally bought, uncrated, leased and delivered furniture which was very appealing to consumers. Due to the growth of the company, Putnam added a third story to the building in 1957 and eventually moved out of its headquarters in Putnam Square in 1974. The company transitioned to solely leasing of furniture in 1974 and expanded all over the region as far as Hartford, CT. Putnam Furniture Company was later sold to CORT Global Furniture Rental Network which operates all over the globe.

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Putnam Square in late 1940s, Putnam Furniture on right.

After Putnam Furniture moved out of the space in 1974, the building was renovated, and well-known furniture store, Crate and Barrel moved in. Most recently, the store has been occupied by Design Within Reach, another furniture store specializing in modern home décor.

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Existing store presently used by Design Within Reach. Third floor added previously.

For more information on this building or architect William L. Galvin, email us at histcomm@cambridgema.gov.

New Small Collection: The Coleman-Cutting Family Photographs

The Historical Commission recently accepted a donation of eight photographs depicting members of three Cambridge families in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The photographs were donated by a descendant of these families. Scroll down to read snapshots of these people and their connections to 19th century Cambridge industries.

Coleman Family: Police and Coal

This family collection’s story begins with a tintype of John Coleman, likely from the 1850s.

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John Coleman, ca. 1850s.

Coleman was born in Birmingham, England, in 1827. Around 1847, he and his wife Elizabeth Harper Whitehouse immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Cambridge, where John became a well-known policeman. In 1878, John and his son Walter started a coal and wood business at the corner of Broadway and Sixth Street in Cambridge; in 1881 son James also became part of the firm. After John’s death in 1883, Walter and James took over the firm, naming it Coleman Brothers. Their company did business at 428 Massachusetts Avenue until a merger with the Massachusetts Wharf Coal Company in 1923.

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A (barely visible) newspaper image of the Coleman Brothers coal factory, Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge Chronicle, July 22, 1893. https://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/

Cutting Family: Firemen and Markets

John Coleman’s daughter, Fannie Coleman, married Charles H. Cutting. Charles was born in Boston but, like Fannie, grew up in Cambridge.

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Fanny Coleman Cutting, n.d.

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Charles H. Cutting, n.d.

The Colemans had four children: Elizabeth Swanton, Henry Arthur, Herbert Harper, and Ida May. Sadly, Fannie died from complications of childbirth in 1889.

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The Cutting children, 1889

Charles Cutting’s occupation was originally listed as an iron molder, but he was later listed as a fish dealer and eventually owned his own provisions store at 885 Main Street (now on Mass Ave near Harvard Square). Charles may have taken over ownership of this store from E.A. Burroughs, proprietor of The Old Rockport Market, selling fish, oysters, and canned goods.

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The Cutting family outside of their store at 885 Main Street, n.d.

Charles would also serve as a volunteer fireman with the Cambridge Fire Department for 37 years, retiring in 1915.

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The Cutting family inside their store, n.d.

The three eldest Cutting children seem to have helped with the family store, especially son Henry, who later took over running the store after Charles died in 1920. Henry also worked for the Cambridge Fire Department at River Street from 1920-1942.

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Henry Cutting, n.d.

Kemp and Nowell Family: Soap

Charles Cutting’s daughter Elizabeth Cutting married Bowman Nowell, the son of Lucy Ann Kemp and Charles Nowell. Lucy Ann was the daughter of Lysander Kemp, owner of a Cambridge soap manufacturing company and brother-in-law to Curtis Davis of the Curtis Davis Company (a large soap manufacturer that was later bought by Lever Brothers).

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Lysander’s original company, which manufactured laundry soap, was Kemp & Sargent, later Lysander Kemp & Sons.

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To see these photographs or to learn more about any of the industries mentioned here, make a research appointment with us at histcomm@cambridgema.gov. If you are interested in donating photographs or materials on your Cambridge ancestors, please feel free to contact Emily, egonzalez@cambridgema.gov. 

The Cambridge Historical Commission has a rich collection of both family photographs and historical materials on Cambridge business and industry, and we are always excited to add more to the collection.

Modern Monday: Hayden Memorial Library at MIT

For today’s #ModernMonday posting, we are highlighting the Hayden Memorial Library at MIT.

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Located on Memorial Drive, the library is named after Charles Hayden (1870-1937) an MIT alum (1890) who studied “mining investment.” Hayden was a philanthropist who donated vast sums of money for the construction of buildings including; the Hayden Planetarium in New York, the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Boston Museum of Science, and the Hayden Memorial Library at MIT to name a few. Hayden was involved with philanthropy most of his life. During World War I, he donated $100,000 per year to the American Red Cross. Hayden’s largest philanthropic effort came following his death in 1937 when his will directed roughly $50,000,000 ($853 million in today’s dollars) from his estate be used to create a foundation to advance the education and “moral, mental, and physical well-being” of boys and young men. The organization, known today as “The Charles Hayden Foundation”, distributes grants of between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000 annually to support programs for children in the Boston and New York metropolitan areas.

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Charles Hayden in 1934, from the American Museum of Natural History Digital Special Collections.

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Architectural drawing included in Architectural Record, Nov. 1946.

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Architectural drawing included in Architectural Record, Nov. 1946.

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Architectural drawing included in Architectural Record, Nov. 1946.

The Hayden Memorial Library at MIT was unveiled beginning in 1946 when the Architectural Record highlighted the design of the building. The building was designed by Ralph Walker (MIT Class of 1911) of Voorhees, Walker, Foley and Smith Architects and was completed in 1951 in a Post-WWII Art Moderne Style. Walker was called “The only other honest architect in America” by Frank Lloyd Wright, and “Architect of the Century” by The New York Times when he received the Centennial Medal of Honor from the American Institute of Architects. He was most well known for his Art Deco buildings in New York. “Three years after accepting his award from the New York Times, he resigned from the AIA amid controversy surrounding a member of his firm who was accused of stealing another firm’s contract. Though he was later cleared of all wrongdoing and reinstated, he was apparently never the same afterwards. Ten years later, in 1973, Walker shot himself with a silver bullet, only after destroying his AIA award. His original firm still exists under the name HLW International, but as Walker and his wife had no children, all that remains of his great legacy are the buildings he created” (Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century).

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Hayden Library in 1968, photo part of CHC Survey files.

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Hayden Library in 1968, photo part of CHC Survey files.

The Hayden Library inaugurated the expansion and modernization of MIT’s academic facilities and was one of the first truly Modern buildings on the campus. At the time, vast amounts of technical literature – generated largely by the war – had to be housed, and facilities had to be updated to accommodate recent advances in conservation, storage, and photographic reproduction. The Hayden Library would have to meet those demands. The protruding two-story glass bays allow ample natural light into the library and the limestone façade serves as a nod to the older Beaux Arts MIT buildings nearby.

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Photo of Hayden Library courtesy of University of Michigan Digital Archives.

 

Utilizing the Hayden Library’s initial design goal of “flexibility”, Shepley Bulfinch re-imagined the building as the hub of the MIT Library System in 2012 and it now houses collections for science, engineering, humanities, music, and archives.

The 1951 building remains as a great example of Modern architecture in Cambridge and shows how good architectural design can be timeless and adapted to meet future needs.

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CHC Color slide of Hayden Library in 1990s.

 

Modern Monday: Esplanade Condominiums

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The Esplanade from the Charles River. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.

#ModernMonday is featuring the Esplanade Condominiums (1989) at 75-83 Cambridge Parkway in East Cambridge. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie with Safdie Architects, the building could be classified as “structuralism” with its cubist features and grid-like design. The building was the final structure completed in “The Front” which is bounded by Cambridge Parkway and Edwin Land Boulevard.

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Edwin Land Boulevard entrance. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.

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Edwin Land Boulevard façade. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.

The building, which is comprised of 206 units, had to comply with strict urban design guidelines laid out as part of the East Cambridge Urban Design Plan. This plan limited height, required brick as the main material for construction, and required building on the street edge. Given the high water table, the parking for the structure is above-grade, and the design minimizes the impact of the parking base by encasing the riverfront (east) elevation with housing units and a community garden on the parking roof at the fourth floor.

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Cambridge Parkway façade, facing north. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.

The structure takes cues from Safdie’s 1967 project, Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada with the repetition of cube projections with terraces and use of public spaces incorporated into the building’s design. In the real estate sales brochure for the building, the building’s form was said to have been inspired by the homes on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Upon its completion, The Esplanade building was known to have the highest value units in the city. The design, coupled with the sweeping views of the river and Boston skyline created a huge draw for investors and homeowners alike.

Habitat 67

Habitat 67: Originally conceived as Safdie’s master’s thesis in architecture and then built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967. The Esplanade Condominium building seems to be inspired by the earlier design by Safdie.

Thanks to Safdie Architects for the original photographs and floor plans.