Centers And Squares
Welcome to Centers and Squares
As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.
Cambridge is full of wonderful murals and the large mural above the fire station in Inman Square is hard to miss.
Even so, I have to confess to not really looking carefully at it until I took a tour of Inman Square led by Krystyna Colburn as part of Cambridge Discovery Days this summer. Colburn pointed out two fun elements of the mural that I had never noticed – more about that later.
Engine Company No. 5 Mural
Artist Ellary Eddy was chosen to paint the mural after the Cambridge Arts Council held a competition for local artists. The mural was painted in 1980 and restored, also by Eddy, in 1999. It is three times life size and depicts the firefighters of Engine Company No. 5.
What’s the secret of the fire station mural? Well, there are two surprises in the mural.
Second from left is George Washington holding a pail. Washington appears in the mural to commemorate the time he spent in Cambridge during the Revolution when what we now call the Longfellow House served as his headquarters during the Seige of Boston. Washington also earned his place in the mural from his service as a volunteer firefighter in Virginia. He’s behind the fire station’s dalmation.
The other surprise in the mural is Benjamin Franklin who stands on the fire engine’s running board. Eddy painted Ben Franklin in red hightop sneakers. Franklin never lived in Cambridge but earned his place on the mural as the founder of the first volunteer fire department in 1736.
Check it out the next time you’re in Inman Square.
The Inman Square Fire Station Mural is on the west wall of the Inman Square firehouse at the intersection of Hampshire Street and Cambridge Street.
New Cambridge Youth Center When my coworker and I drove by 680 Huron Ave – the VFW post across from Fresh Pond – we marveled at the dramatic renovation. Sure seemed like an expensive redo for the VFW.
Turns out it’s the new Mayor Sheila Doyle Russell Youth and Community Center. It was completed this June and programs began at the youth center in July. Features of the new facility include:
- Full size gym with an NCAA sized basketball court
- Fitness room
- Teaching kitchen
- 20 station computer learning and homework center
- Performance room with stage
- Arts and crafts room
- Community meeting room
- Open lounge areas
Sure doesn’t resemble the youth center of my teens! That building, now condos actually, was old, dark and unrenovated. Its biggest claim to fame were the foosball tables. And the lack of lights.
There’s a Dedication Ceremony for the new West Cambridge youth center scheduled for Friday, September 25, 2009 from 6 to 8 pm. At the ceremony you’ll get a chance to view the permanent art installation by Michael Oatman, The Cantabridgians. Oatman created video portraits of 23 West Cambridge residents that can be viewed on three large monitors on the second floor. I remember seeing a flyer in Armando’s seeking subjects for the videos so it will be fun to see how it turned out.
The new West Cambridge Youth Center is located at 680 Huron Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138.
The Valentine Place townhouses in Cambridge were built in 2004 between Valentine and Decatur Streets in Cambridgeport.
There are 19 condos ranging in size from approx. 1200 sq.ft to 2000 sq.ft. There are a variety of two and three-bedroom multi-level floor plans – smaller two-level units and larger townhouses on four levels.
Valentine Place condo features include:
- Central air conditioning
- Garage parking
- Private outdoor space – patio, deck
- Granite, maple and stainless steel kitchen
- Gas fireplace
- High ceilings
- Hardwood floors
- Marble and limestone baths including a master bath
Recent sales at Valentine Place have included a 1535 sq.ft. two-level, two-bedroom with 2.5 baths that sold for $760,000 and a four-level 1965 sq.ft. three-bedroom townhouse that sold for $842,500.
The townhouses are located at 15 Valentine Street and 10-18 Decatur Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.
The Village at Broadway is a ten-unit condo complex at 330-334 Broadway in Cambridge. Beautifully done, it has a commanding presence on the block and is hard to miss. The developers were awarded the Anthony C. Platt Award from the Cambridge Historical Commission, given each year to recognize an exceptional example of preservation in a neighborhood conservation district.
The complex consists of two renovated original buildings – a beautiful Greek Revival built in 1846 and a richly ornamented Italianate Mansard built in 1867. Between these two distinctive buildings, set back from the street across a landscaped lawn, are five townhouses constructed in 2001.
There are three condos in the large yellow Greek Revival ranging in size from approx. 1350 to 1600 sq.ft. The Mansard was divided into two units of 1569 and 1852 sq.ft. The townhouses range in size from about 1500 to 1800 sq.ft.
Features of the condos at The Village at Broadway include:
- Three bedrooms
- At least two baths
- Gas fireplace
- Central air conditioning
- Garage parking
- Granite and stainless steel kitchens
Recently, condos at The Village at Broadway have sold for prices between $720,000 and $844,500.
Click on the slideshow below to get larger views of the condos at the Village At Broadway.
We spotted this sign in Cambridgeport at 202 Hamilton Street the other day. It’s an early entrant in the If This House Could Talk event being held in in the neighborhood on Saturday, October 3, 2009 as part of Cambridgeport History Day.
The Cambridgeport History Project is encouraging residents to post signs in front of their houses that tell details of the house’s history – from years ago or from modern times. On October 3rd neighbors are invited to walk around the neighborhood and learn more about the history of Cambridgeport- and about their neighbors. These early signs are a teaser of sorts for the October event.
Since I’m always interested in Cambridge’s rich literary history I was psyched to see that this sign was about a Cambridge author, Jill Rena Bloom.
Bloom wrote several works of non-fiction including Help Me to Help My Child, HMOs: The Revolution in Health Care, and Uncommon Boston which she wrote with co-author Susan Berk.
Bloom also wrote romances under the penname Jillian Blake. Her Silhouette and Harlequin romances included:
- Diana’s Folly
- East Side, West Side
- Water Dancer
- Sullivan vs. Sullivan
- A Vision to Share
For more information about Cambridgeport History Day you can contact Cathie Zusy at 617-868-0489 or [email protected]
And if you’d like to live in the neighborhood –
Entry brackets are one of my very favorite Victorian house parts and Cambridge is a hotbed of them. There is a remarkable variety in styles and designs of cornice brackets. Many homeowners have accentuated the details with paint. The slide show below has some of my favorites that I’ve spotted around town.
Here are some other House Parts We Love:
This is the beautifully landscaped patio behind my new listing, a condo at 65 Newbury Street in Somerville. It dazzles me to tell you the truth.
I did a double take when I spotted this new age parking meter in Harvard Square on Church Street. It’s actually a “pay station” that has replaced all the meters on the block. The City of Cambridge Traffic and Parking Department calls it a “Pay and Display Meter” – actually for some reason they call it “Luke”. Beats me.
Harvard Square visitors will park their car at one of the now meter-less parking spaces and purchase parking at the pay station which takes quarters or credit cards (Visa or Mastercard). The machine spits out a paper receipt which needs to posted on your dash.
For now these new parking meter substitutes are on Church Street and in three City of Cambridge parking lots though there are plans to make the change elsewhere in the city in the future. Benefits of this sort of system, similar to ones installed in Boston on Newbury Street, include increased revenues and reduced time spent by city workers collecting money from the meters.
While I’m a bit horrified at the idea of parking meter charges ending up on credit cards, the biggest drawback from drivers, or I should say parkers’, perspective seems to be that the small joy of scoring a parking meter with time left on it is no longer a possibility. But simply scoring a parking space in the heart of Harvard Square should be thrill enough.