Archive for the 'Area Info' Category

Margaret Fuller – Born in Cambridge 200 Years Ago Today

Margaret Fuller lived briefly at 42 Brattle Street Cambridge

Margaret Fuller lived briefly at 42 Brattle Street Cambridge

Today is the 200th anniversary of Margaret Fuller‘s birth. Fuller was born in Cambridge on May 23, 1810. Her birthplace at 71 Cherry Street still stands.  Margaret Fuller was a  noted feminist, author, editor and Transcendentalist.

Today 71 Cherry Street is a National Historic Landmark. The house was built by Margaret’s father, Timothy Fuller in 1807.  In 1902 one of the earliest settlement houses in the US was started here, the Margaret Fuller House, serving the immigrant community in the city. 

Now known as the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, the organization recently completed a restoration of the Fuller birthplace.  Neighborhood services provided here include daycare and summer programs, an emergency food pantry and a computer lab.

For a brief time, Fuller and her family lived at 42 Brattle Street in Harvard Square.  The Brattle House, now owned by the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed, was built in 1727 and named for General William Brattle who owned the house at the time of the Revolutionary War.

Margaret Fuller died in 1850 in a ship wreck off Fire Island.  Though her body was never recovered there is a Fuller memorial at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.

The Margaret Fuller birthplace is at 71 Cherry Street, Cambridge MA 02139.  Fuller and her family lived at 42 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA 02138 from 1831 to 1833.

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Watertown DPW Tire Drop Off

Tire Drop Off Day for Watertown

Tire Drop Off Day for Watertown

Watertown DPW Tire Drop Off  Nowadays you really have to think about how to dispose of unwanted items.  Inconvenient – but a good thing if it makes us think twice before acquiring something.

Disposing of tires is a tricky one.  If you’re not interested in making a flower planter cut from a discarded tire – and I don’t see too many of those around the city – there’s just not that much to do with your old tires.

For residents of  Watertown there’s a solution – a tire drop off day planned for this weekend.  Only tires will be collected – no rims.

Free of charge and open only to Watertown residents.  An ID showing proof of Watertown residency is required.

The tire dropoff is scheduled for Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Watertown Public Works at 124 Orchard Street.

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Massachusetts Home Sales Impacted by Flooding

Water bubbling up from the street in Arlington after the rain

Water bubbling up from the street in Arlington after the rain

Massachusetts Home Sales Impacted by Flooding  Real estate agents and buyers have slogged through a lot of wet basements in Massachusetts in the last few weeks. It was the worst flooding in Eastern Massachusetts in decades.  Even days after the rain ended you would still come across sump pumps dumping water out onto yards or sidewalks from flooded basements.

The flooding, and the fact that much of Massachusetts was declared a disaster area, is impacting real estate closings. 

There’s a good chance in the next few weeks that your lender may require an additional visit from the bank’s appraiser if you’re closing on a property in Middlesex County or another county that was declared a disaster area.  If your appraisal predated the storms the bank may require another inspection prior to closing.

In some cases you may be required to pay for the inspection. And it’s possible that your closing may be delayed by a few days.  All of this is still unfolding so it’s hard to predict exactly how the inspections will work and what the impact will be – particularly if the property was severely flooded.

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Street Cleaning Starts In Cambridge

Street Cleaning In Cambridge Starts Today

Street Cleaning In Cambridge Starts Today

It’s no joke if your car got towed this morning – street cleaning in Cambridge started today, April 1, 2010.

Cambridge streets are  swept each month and if your car is still on the street you’ll be towed and get a ticket. Ouch!

There’s more information on the Cambridge street schedule on the City’s website.

Moving the car is a hassle and getting towed is a lousy way to start or end your day but I’m psyched that the streets are getting cleaned again.  Litter is one of my biggest pet peeves and Cambridge is overdue for a cleaning.

Happy April Fool’s Day!!

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Get A Bargain On A Rain Barrel For Your Garden

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Get a Bargain on a Rain Barrel for Your Garden     Hard as it is to imagine, given all the recent rain, there’ll come a time this summer when you’ll need to water your garden or lawn. 

It’s amazing how high your water bill can climb in the summer when you’re watering outdoors.  A rain barrel collects water from your gutters and stores it, under cover, to be used for irrigation.  Hook a hose up to the barrel and you can make use of the water when you need it and prevent rain water from running into the sewer system.

Rain Barrel Discounts For Cambridge and Nearby Towns

A number of Massachusetts towns and cities offer a discount on rain barrels in the spring.  The regular price for the recycled plastic barrel is $119.95.

Rain barrels can be ordered online, and details for each town’s program are available on the New England Rain Barrel Company website where you can click on your town or city’s name for details about the program offered in your area.

Here are the discounts available and the order deadlines for local towns:

  • Arlington– rain barrels are $74.95 and must be ordered by Monday, May 17, 2010 to get the discount. Composters are also available for $89.95, a $40 discount, if ordered by May 17th. The first 40 Arlington residents who purchase a composter will get an additional $35 discount – now that’s a deal!
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  • Cambridge – residents can purchase a rain barrel for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, May 14, 2010
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  • Medford – residents get a discounted price of $74.95 through the Mystic River Watershed Association if orders are placed by Thursday, May 27, 2010
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  • Somerville– rain barrels can be purchased for $74.95 and composters are available for $89.95, a $40 discount. Orders must be placed by Monday, May 3, 2010 to buy at the discounted price.
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  • Watertown – barrels are available for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, April 23, 2010.

Get a bargain on a rain barrel for your garden – check out the New England Rain Barrel Company.

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Oysters In Cambridge – Then And Now

Former Aku-Aku Tiki Is Now A Sea Captain At The Summer Shack

Former Aku-Aku Tiki Is Now A Sea Captain At The Summer Shack

Oysters in Cambridge – Then and Now.   Did you know that Cambridge was once home to extensive oyster beds?

Cambridge Oysters – Then

The oyster beds were along the banks of the Charles in what is now Cambridgeport.  In the 1600s the oyster beds produced enormous oysters in such quantities that navigating past the reef on the Charles River was difficult.

The salt marshes that bordered the river were filled in the 1800s and the oyster beds are now covered by land that includes Fort Washington and MIT.

Oysters In Cambridge – Now

A local group  – the Massachusetts Oyster Project – is working to reintroduce oysters to rivers that flow into Boston Harbor.  The group has introduced oysters to the Charles River in Charlestown.

Oysters filter water and can counteract pollution.  A renewed oyster population will lead to a cleaner Charles and a cleaner Boston Harbor.

You’re probably not going to be eating oysters out of the Charles anytime soon.  So where can you get oysters in Cambridge?

Where To Buy Oysters In Cambridge

Cantabridgians in search of raw oysters have a number of local options:

Jasper White’s Summer Shack at Alewife has a popular oyster bar.  This is the first Summer Shack, opened in 2000, in the former Aku-Aku.  The tiki at the front entrance is now a sea captain in a yellow slicker.  617-520-9500.

The raw bar at the East Coast Grill on Cambridge Street in Inman Square is another popular option for oyster lovers.  617-491-6568

Rialto in Harvard Square has Duxbury oysters for $1 on Monday nights. 617-661-5050

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Concrete Buildings In Cambridge

William James Hall - Minoru Yamasaki

William James Hall - Minoru Yamasaki

Robert Campbell, the Boston Globe‘s architecture critic, had an excellent article in last Sunday’s paper about concrete buildings in Cambridge and Boston.  Even if it’s not your favorite architectural style the article will give you a new appreciation for these 1950s – 1970s buildings.

Campbell writes:

“No other American city boasts as much noteworthy concrete architecture in as small an area as Boston and Cambridge”

At right is Harvard’s William James Hall, Minoru Yamasaki’s 1963 building which Robert Bell Rettig describes in Guide to Cambridge Architecture as “fourteen stories of pure white concrete”.  Yamasaki also designed the 1962 Engineering Sciences Laboratory included in the slide show below.

Here’s a sampling of concrete buildings in Cambridge. I’ll try to add more the next time the sky is blue!

 

Click on the “Architecture” link below for more posts about Cambridge architecture.

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North Cambridge Catholic High School Closing

On December 22nd, just before the holidays, the Archdiocese of Boston, announced that the North Cambridge Catholic High School on Norris Street would be closing and moving to Dorchester.

The school is relocating to 100 Savin Hill Avenue in Dorchester, the former St. William School.  The school’s name will be changed to Cristo Rey Boston. North Cambridge Catholic has been part of a national association of Catholic high schools called the Cristo Rey Network since 2004.

North Cambridge Catholic High School, 40 Norris Street

North Cambridge Catholic High School, 40 Norris Street

It seems that the Archdiocese plans to sell the school building after the move.  Will North Cambridge have a new schoolhouse condo building? Let’s hope so.

Renovated schools make super condos and 40 Norris Street is an exceptional building. The Northwest Cambridge: Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge calls it “one of the handsomest schools in the city.”  It’s massive, over 35,000 sq.ft. according to City records, and has large rounded windows on the upper floors.  The satellite view of the school shows twenty or so parking spaces currently sited behind the building.

The school was built in 1898 for the City of Cambridge and served as the Ellis School until the 1950s.  The building was designed by Boston architect A.H. Gould.

Norris Street is a pleasant, residential street lined with multi-families. It’s a one-way street running from Cedar Street to Mass Ave. The bike path is nearby and Davis Square is not far.  At one end of Norris you’ll find the path that leads into a very nice park and playground, the Reverend Williams Park.

Schoolhouse condos would be a great addition to the neighborhood.  The closest renovated school in Cambridge is the former Lincoln School on Mead Street at the corner of Walden and condos turn over infrequently there. 

Watch this space for updates on the North Cambridge Catholic High School closing and plans for the building’s future.

 

Related posts:

Schoolhouse Condos In Cambridge and Somerville

Condos in Renovated Schools in Medford

 

The North Cambridge Catholic High School is at 40 Norris Street, Cambridge, MA 02140.

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