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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.

Irving Street Cambridge – Real Estate, Architecture and History

105 Irving Street Cambridge MA

105 Irving Street Cambridge MA

Irving Street Cambridge – Real Estate, Architecture and History.  Irving Street is close to Harvard Square in Cambridge in what real estate agents often refer to as the Divinity School neighborhood. Much of the street is part of what once was the Shady Hill estate.  Lined with large, handsome houses and rich in history, Irving Street is one of my favorite streets in Cambridge.

Irving Street History

Irving Street was named for author Washington Irving, best known today for his stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”.  While parts of the street were laid out earlier in the 1800s, the street was part of the subdivision designed by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1886 when the 34 acre Shady Hill estate was subdivided.

Well known residents of Irving Street included:

  • Julia and Paul Child at 103 Irving Street
  • Poet e.e. cummings grew up across the street at no. 104 
  • Psychologist and philospher William James, brother of Henry James, built no. 95 in 1889 and lived there until his death in 1910

On a lighter note, I found at least one reference to a house on Irving appearing in the movie Love Story as the house where the couple played by Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw lived. Anybody know which house this is?

Irving Street Architecture

Twenty year deed restrictions were put in place when the Shady Hill estate was divided.  Only single family houses could be built and there were minimum cost requirements.  There is a uniformity to the streetscape as a result – all of the houses are large and are separated from their neighbors on generous lots. 

The street is almost entirely residential with the exceptions of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at one end and the Irving House Bed and Breakfast at the other.  There is also Harvard housing at no. 28, Haskins Hall, a 1926 brick apartment building.

Most of the houses on the street are Colonial Revivals or late examples of the Queen Anne style. No. 114 is a Craftsman style house. There is a large Mansard at no. 23 and a more recent addition of  a group of Bell and Fandetti townhouses at no. 36.

Here’s a tour of the houses on Irving Street, starting at the end of the street near Francis Avenue and walking back, cross Kirkland Street to the opposite end at Cambridge Street.  By clicking on the photos you can get a larger view.



Irving Street Cambridge Real Estate

Recent sales on the street have included:

  • An unrenovated two-family sold for $1,075,000 in 2009
  • Julia Child’s former home sold for $3,700,000 earlier this year
  • One of the Bell and Fandetti 1970s townhouses sold for $601,050 in 2007
  • A fully renovated two-family house sold in 2007 for $2,215,000



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  1. Michael Bergin

    Irving Street is beautiful! Hope you are getting lots of traffic after Jim’s nice plug for you on Facebook.


  2. Melanie Anderson Bourbeau

    I am Curator at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT. We have in our archives collection several letters from Henry James who was a personal friend of the original owners of Hill-Stead when it was a private residence (1901-1946.)

    Henry James lived at 95 Irving and I would be curious to know which house was his. I am currently scanning letters from our collection to be included in the eventual publication of The Complete Works of Henry James (Creighton University.)

  3. Elizabeth Bolton

    Dear Melanie ~ As a former archivist I was delighted to read your comment. Here is the photo of the Henry James house at 95 Irving. On a real estate side note, it last sold for $1,900,000 in 1999.

    Oops – I can’t seem to add the photo to this comment so I’ll email it to you.

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