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.


Modern Monday: Hayden Memorial Library at MIT

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

Hayden Library PHoto

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.

Charles Hayden Photo

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


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.

Building and Structure Documentation Collection: Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory

Today, we are highlighting a building from our Building and Structure Documentation Collection. This collection documents buildings and structures in Cambridge that were either demolished or significantly altered. In this case, the materials were compiled as a condition of approval by the Cambridge Planning Board for a proposed replacement project.

Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory - Exterior

Close-up view of south facade of Gibbs Memorial Laboratory, Naito Chemistry Complex is under construction at the left of the photograph, 1999-2000.

For each building or structure, the corresponding box often includes an architectural description of the building or buildings, a narrative history, and archival photographs, negatives, photograph key(s), and/or electronic copies of the files and photographs. Today we are featuring the documentation of the Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory.

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Copy photograph of Wolcott Gibbs circa 1895. Original in Harvard University Archives.

The Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory, named to honor Harvard University Rumford professor Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, was originally constructed in 1913 to address issues of limited laboratory space at Harvard.

Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory - 1913 Exterior (copy)

View northwest, perspective view of Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory in 1913. Original in Harvard University Archives.

Located at the head of Frisbie Place, the building was designed by architect and 1876 Harvard graduate Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Jr., nephew of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, for research in physical and inorganic chemistry.

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View into cold storage room and laboratory, second floor, Gibbs Memorial Laboratory, 1999-2000. This room was not part of the original building plan.

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View west from east side entrance into Gibbs Memorial Laboratory basement, 1999-2000. Note autoclave in center of photograph.


The laboratory cost $85,000 to build. During its construction in 1912, the Harvard Crimson noted that “The Wolcott Gibbs Laboratory will be unique in this country, and in fact will be the foremost institution of its kind in the world. The proposed group of buildings, which will cost a million dollars, would give the University an unrivaled place in the field of chemical science.”

Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory - Vestibule

View of vestibule from front hall, first floor of Gibbs Memorial Laboratory, 1999-2000. Note the six light transom set above the doors. An arch at the top frames the individual lights and mullions delimit them. The frame around each light resembles a pier arch.

The building was constructed with a high degree of integrity of design including elements derived from classical, Roman, medieval, late Gothic and Corinthian architecture. In the 1960s, the laboratory was remodeled for inclusion of biochemistry laboratories, and in the early 2000s, the building was demolished.

Look for more building and structure documentation in future posts!

Event: Cambridgeport Walking Tour

On Saturday October 27th at 1:30pm, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association will lead a walking tour of the 12 religious buildings nestled into the neighborhood of Cambridgeport. The tour will meet at the intersection of Magazine Street and Green Street (at the area in front of the First Baptist Church) at 1:30pm and proceed from there, lasting about 2 hours. The event is co-sponsored by the Cambridge Historical Commission and the Cambridge Peace Commission, as well as C-port’s own Gallery 263.


The tour will end at the gallery (263 Pearl St, Cambridge MA) for some refreshments and an exhibition of architectural drawings of these buildings. During the tour, we will have the privilege of going inside some of these buildings, and we will be joined by representatives from several of the churches along the way. For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations please contact GABE@MIT.EDU


Building and Structure Documentation Collection: 55 Wheeler Street

Today, we are highlighting a building from our recently opened Building and Structure Documentation Collection. This collection documents buildings and structures in Cambridge that were either demolished or significantly altered. In this case the materials were compiled as a condition of approval by the Cambridge Planning Board for a proposed replacement project.


55 Wheeler Street: interior view of reception area

For each building or structure, the corresponding box often includes an architectural description of the building or buildings, a narrative history, and archival photographs, negatives, photograph key(s), and/or electronic copies of the files and photographs.

Documented structures in this collection include buildings from the former Boston Woven Hose & Rubber Company, and the Fogg Museum from the Harvard Art Museum Restoration and Expansion Project. Today we are featuring the documentation of the Abt Associates office complex at 55 Wheeler Street.


55 Wheeler Street: exterior facade

The Abt Associates Office Complex, much of which is less than 50 years old as of 2018, is located at 55 Wheeler Street, Cambridge, Mass. Abt Associates – which relocated to other offices in Cambridge in 2017 – is “a consulting firm that specializes in combining social sciences, computer forecasting, operations analysis and systems engineering to address technological advances and social change.” (Historical Narrative, Westbrook Properties Documentation). The firm grew rapidly in the 1960s and ‘70s, and the complex was repeatedly enlarged to enclose a series of beautifully landscaped quadrangles; almost every occupant enjoyed an exterior view.

The internationally renowned architect and urban planner Imre Halasz (1925-2003) was one of the most important designers associated with the complex. Halasz came to the US from Hungary in 1957 and taught at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning for forty years. His firm, Imre & Anthony Halasz Inc., operated from 1957 to 1991. Halasz was also responsible for the master plan of the NASA Electronics Research Center (later the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center) in Kendall Square.


55 Wheeler Street: courtyard view

Abt Associates was formed in Cambridge in 1965 by Dr. Clark C. Abt. The company’s Cambridge location is significant for its associations with an “iconic social sciences research and consulting firm that was forward-thinking for its time, providing child care, a restaurant and recreational facilities for employees.” (Memo, Liza Paden, June 28, 2017).


55 Wheeler Street: pool, looking southwest

Look for more building and structure documentation in future posts!

New Collections Available!

We are happy to announce that we have recently processed and updated finding aids from several collections in our holdings. Scroll down for descriptions and sample images from the following collections: Patsy Baudoin Collection of Cambridge Prints and Photographs, Edwin Freeman Bowker Collection, Honors and Awards Collection, Alan McClennen Senior Collection, Cambridge Militia Records, City of Cambridge Veterans’ Graves Registration Cards Inventory, and William Lawrence Galvin Collection.

Patsy Baudoin Collection of Cambridge Prints and Photographs

This collection, sometimes known as an artificial collection, consists of photographs, drawings, and prints of historical houses and locations in Cambridge.  Also included are several page clippings from various books including the Historic Guide to Cambridge, Ever New England, and other area guides to historic houses.

Johnston Gate, Harvard Yard

One (1) pencil sketch: Johnston Gate, Harvard Yard by W. Harry Smith (Artist)

Most of the houses depicted in the prints were built pre-Revolutionary War, from 1660-1763, and have a long history of famous residents, including Margaret Fuller, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and John White Webster.  Additionally, many of the houses are listed as National Historic Landmarks including the seven houses that make up “Tory Row” on Brattle Street.

Longfellow in his Study

Longfellow in his study ca. 1870-1880. Photographer unknown.

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

Edwin Freeman Bowker Collection

This collection is composed of five boxes and two flat files containing Edwin F. Bowker’s professional correspondence as a civil engineer and surveyor. Included are surveyor’s notes and records, draft sketches, manual calculations, notes on markers, drawings, plans, transcripts regarding property boundaries from deeds, and correspondence from mid-1886 through 1919.



Documents related to property at Hasting and Monson Streets, 1920

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

Honors and Awards Collection

This collection contains certificates honoring the Cambridge Historical Commission and various Cambridge businesses and organizations for their service to the built environment of this community.


Plaque and pencil sketch for the City of Cambridge Ruth L. Barron Award for Outstanding Community Service, 2014.

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

Alan McClennen Senior Collection

Included in this collection are maps, development studies, town reports, and traffic studies for the City of Cambridge with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1950s to the 1970s. Alan McClennen served as the Planning Director for the City of Cambridge from 1958 until 1968. Researchers interested in viewing the Alan McClennen Senior Collection will be engaged by topics on community development in the City of Cambridge during the mid-twentieth century. We would like to give a special thanks to volunteer Steve Kaiser, for to his contribution to the spreadsheet and box list for this collection.


Booklet for Alewife Brook Park created by AD Little/Cambridge Corporation, 1968


Memo on Railroad Grade Separations by the Cambridge Planning Board, 5 December 1950

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

Cambridge Militia Records

This collection contains nine record books detailing militia records for the City of Cambridge for the years 1846-1886. Each book contains lists of names recording those enrolled in the Cambridge Militia. At times these lists are accompanied by marginal notes.


Militia roll: 1877 (“Ward Two Book”)


Cambridge Militia Ledger: 1846-1859

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

City of Cambridge Veterans’ Graves Registration Cards Inventory

This collection contains veterans’ graves registration cards, filed in alphabetical order, for graves in various cemeteries in Cambridge. A majority of the graves are registered at Mount Auburn Cemetery and Cambridge Cemetery, but also include others, such as the North Cambridge Catholic Cemetery and Belmont Town Cemetery.

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

William Lawrence Galvin Collection

The collection contains print and photographic materials of William L. Galvin’s professional records and architectural drawings. This collection consists of correspondence, writing, articles, government records, photographs and drawings that depict Galvin’s professional career. The core of the collection consists of drawings for over 1,000 architectural projects, of which about 530 projects in Cambridge have been cataloged.


Proposed Dormitory – Social and Recreational Center, Lesley College, undated

For the first time, indexes to photographs in the Galvin collection as well as rolled items not related to Cambridge are available. Follow the links above to view PDFs of these lists.

Over a 50-year career, 1927-1979, Galvin made a significant impact on the landscape of Cambridge through his numerous projects and constant support for progressive land use to fit a modernizing Cambridge community. This collection provides valuable insight into Galvin’s personality and professional work that has left a lasting mark on the landscape of the City of Cambridge.


Drawing of Shea Cleaning Plant and Showroom, undated

Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

To view the above collections, please make an appointment with our archivist, Emily, at egonzalez@cambridgema.gov. Our research hours are: Monday: 4:00-7:00 pm | Tuesday: 2:00-4:00 pm | Wednesday – Thursday: 10-12 and 2-4 pm.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to process collections and make them available for research!


Notes On Discovery: Brief Archival Thoughts From A Recent Intern

As a Simmons student, one of the requirements for the Library & Information Sciences program, regardless of where you fall on the dual-major spectrum, is a minimum 60-hour internship at an archival institution located either in or around Boston, Mass.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I was assigned a post at the Cambridge Historical Commission: although I’ve been living in the Cambridge area for a little over a year, I have to admit that I don’t necessarily know much about the actual history of it beyond some superficial knowledge. I’m from Western New York! Cambridge, to me, was where Harvard and MIT had their campuses, the backdrop of The Handmaid’s Tale, and literally nothing beyond that. What could Cambridge possibly have in their local history archives that could interest me at all?

The answer? A whole lot.

Continue reading

Address Highlight: Michael J. Lombardi Municipal Building, 831 Massachusetts Avenue (formerly the Brusch Medical Center)

The CHC shares space at 831 Massachusetts Avenue at the corner of Bigelow Street in Cambridge with other city departments. Our neighbors include the IT Department, Inspectional Services, License Commission, and Weights and Measures, among others. However, this building was not built to house offices for the City of Cambridge.

In fact, the early history of this property indicates it was well-suited to medical professionals. It was originally the site of two Mansard houses; number 825, on the corner of Bigelow Street, built by soap manufacturer Franklin Brazier in 1869, and 837, built by Rev. Joseph W. Eaton in 1871. Both men had died by about 1875, and their houses soon proved attractive to medical doctors.

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Before the Brusch Medical Building was constructed two Mansard houses occupied the site. 825 Massachusetts Avenue stood on the corner of Bigelow Street and 837 Massachusetts Avenue was next door.  Photo ca. 1925.

Dr. Augustus Clarke, an 1860 graduate of Brown University who served as a surgeon in the Civil War and was a pioneer in antiseptic surgery, occupied the corner house until his death in 1925. His daughters, Drs. Genevieve Clarke and Inez Louise Clarke, both Tufts Medical School graduates and gynecologists who practiced with him, remained in the house. After Genevieve died in 1930 Inez became a recluse. She allowed the building to decay, and died alone in 1942; her house was demolished in 1944.

Next door, 837 Massachusetts Avenue was the home and office of Canadian-born physician Dr. Joseph S. Lockhart. For a brief period, a relative of Dr. Lockhart’s, Dr. James Proctor Lockhart, a dentist and 1902 graduate of Tufts College, also lived and practiced in the house.

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View of Massachusetts Avenue and City Hall. 837 Mass Ave can be seen in the background. Photo ca. 1940

Joseph Lockhart continued his medical practice at 837 Massachusetts Avenue until his death on March 1st, 1927. Soon after, Dr. William C. Archibald moved into the house and opened his own practice. Dr. Archibald had also relocated to Cambridge from Canada just a few years prior and soon shared his office with Dr. Ralph Gross, a local dentist. The house was demolished in 1949 to make way for a brand-new medical facility.


Proposed layout of Drs. J&C Brusch Medical Clinic, Drawn by Don Tibbetts, scale app. 1/16” = 1’ – 0 (30 October 1949)

Construction for the two-story cast stone building to be known as The Brusch Medical Center was commissioned by Dr. Joseph A. and Dr. Charles A. Brusch. Charles was John F. Kennedy’s doctor while he was a Massachusetts senator.


Basement Floor Plan (2 February 1950)

In the first week of October 1950, the Cambridge Chronicle reported that ground had been broken for the new center with final costs estimated at over $400,000. As you can see from the basement floor plan, there were rooms for physical therapy, soaking, cystoscopy, and radiography, among others.

Drs. Brusch were known for incorporating treatments that were thought of as revolutionary for the time such as prescribing herbal remedies and providing acupuncture. Dental offices were housed on the first floor, along with a fountain centerpiece.


First Floor Plan (2 February 1950)

In addition to several offices, treatment suites, and exam rooms, architect Edward T.P. Graham made plans for a pharmacy to be included on the first floor. The Medical Arts pharmacy was considered “outstanding” by some residents as it offered comfortable waiting room accommodations, such as rocking chairs and air conditioning.


Clipping from Cambridge Chronicle, July 10th, 1952

The Brusch Medical Center closed in 1980 and the family sold the building to the Catholic Foreign Missionary Society of America (better known as the Maryknoll Fathers), which used it as a residence. The City of Cambridge acquired the building, along with the adjoining house at 8 Bigelow Street, in 1987 and renovated it for municipal offices. When it opened in 1988 it was named the Michael J. Lombardi Municipal Building after the former state representative who died in 1988.

Currently flanking the front entrance of our building are two lions that were carved by Cambridge sculptor Gaetano Schipilliti. According to our architectural inventory form for this address, the lions had previously been housed inside the building lobby.

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Lion statues and Brusch Medical Center sign at 831 Massachusetts Avenue, 2016

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Exterior of 831 Massachusetts Avenue, 1965

If you would like to learn more about our building or research other buildings around Cambridge, please call us at 617.349.4683 or e-mail our archivist, Emily, at egonzalez@cambridgema.gov to make a research appointment.

A big thanks to CHC Executive Director Charles Sullivan for aiding in the research and composition of this blog post.

New Images and Finding Aids

The Commission is happy to announce the availability of newly digitized images and updates to finding aids for four of our collections! Scroll down for descriptions and samples of images from the following collections: Inner Belt Scrapbook, Godinho Family Photograph Collection, Cambridge Manual Training School/ Rindge Manual Training School/
Rindge Technical School Collection, and the Curtis Mellen Photograph Collection.

Inner Belt Scrapbook
Proposed in the mid-1950s, the Inner Belt was once a planned highway that would have been Interstate 695. If built, this highway would have run a route through parts of Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, and Brookline. Many citizens protested the plan as it would have divided neighborhoods and displaced thousands of residents. This collection contains scrapbook pages detailing the saga of the Inner Belt campaign from 1960-1969.

Flyer: State House Rally

Flyer: State House Rally, Jamaica-Plain-Roxbury Expressway Committee, 1969


Clippings: Inner Belt Activities; Morning Union Leader, Christian Science Monitor, The Cambridge Chronicle; March 1966

View the finding aid for this collection here.

Additional pages from the Inner Belt Scrapbook can be viewed here.

Godinho Family Photograph Collection

Scrapbook page: Members of the Godinho Family

Scrapbook page: Members of the Godinho Family, c. 1920


This collection contains photographic materials and personal items of the Godinhos, a Portuguese family who lived in Cambridge from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century. Although little is known about the individuals depicted, including many of their identities, the collection contains photos of the Azores, a region in Portugal, indicating that this may be where the family originated. When whaling and fishing declined towards the end of the nineteenth century, many Portuguese immigrants, who had been whalers and fishermen in New Bedford, Massachusetts, moved to industrial towns near Boston, including Cambridge. The Portuguese Catholic population became large enough that in 1902 St. Anthony’s Church was opened in East Cambridge.

Unknown Boy: Gribal Godinho Family - First Holy Communion Portra

Unknown Boy: Gribal Godinho Family – First Holy Communion Portrait, c. 1915-1920

Joseph Godinho (left) and Unknown Man

Joseph Godinho (left) and Unknown Man, c. 1920

Additional images from the Godinho Family Photograph Collection can be viewed here.

View the finding aid for this collection here.

Cambridge Manual Training School/ Rindge Manual Training School/
Rindge Technical School Collection

The Cambridge Manual Training School for Boys was founded by Frederick Hastings Rindge in September 1888. The Cambridge School Committee renamed the school Rindge Manual Training School in 1899 in honor of Mr. Rindge after he retired. Considering its broadened offerings in technical education, the school was later renamed Rindge Technical School. In 1977, the Rindge Technical School merged with the Cambridge High and Latin School to form the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS).

Having been assembled from multiple sources, items in this collection are related to the school and range from the 1880s to 1940s. Formats include photographs, documents, correspondence, and objects. Photographic subjects include events and classes at the Rindge School and Camp Rindge, as well as fire brigade practice operations.


Chemistry classroom, c. 1920s


Fire brigade operations, c. 1910

The bulk of this collection includes photographs of sports teams and individual players at Rindge Technical School. Many images depict the football team, but also include crew, hockey, track, swimming, and baseball.


D. Allen, Baseball Captain, 1922

View the finding aid for this collection here.

Curtis Mellen Photograph Collection
The Mellens were a very prominent family in Cambridge, and their soap business, Curtis Davis & Co., became the American branch of Lever Brothers, the largest soap manufacturer in the world at the time.

Interior View: Curtis Davis and Co., 180 Broadway

Interior View: Curtis Davis and Co., 180 Broadway

This collection includes family photographs as well as photographs of both the interior and exterior of Mellen family homes in Cambridge. Depicted are homes on Broadway, Chauncy, Forest, Linnean, and Hampshire streets. Many of the photographs have been attributed to Edwin D. Mellen and depict lavish interiors with intricate fixtures and furnishings.

Interior View: 33 Washington Avenue

Interior View: 33 Washington Avenue, c. 1880s

Interior View: Unknown address

Interior View: Unknown address, c. 1880s-1890s

Additional images from the Curtis Mellen Photograph Collection can be viewed here.

View the finding aid for this collection here.

To schedule an appointment for in-person research, please contact the Cambridge Historical Commission today at 617.349.4683 or e-mail our Archivist, Emily at egonzalez@cambridgema.gov.