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.

Categories: Area Info
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

Bay State Apartments – Condos at 1572 Mass Ave, Cambridge

The Bay State Condos

The Bay State Condos

The Bay State Apartments, a condo building at 1572 Mass Ave in Cambridge MA, offers condos perfect for Cambridge real estate buyers looking for a classic Cambridge brick building or hoping to be near Harvard Square or the Law School.

The Bay State was built in 1915. Henry A. Mears, a Boston architect, designed the building. It has one of the most elaborately tiled vestibules and hallways that I’ve seen in Cambridge and a nicely landscaped entry set back from the street.

There are 41 condos on five floors – studios, one, and two-bedrooms ranging in size from 242 sq.ft. to over 1600 sq.ft.

Sylvia Plath sublet Apartment 4 here during the summer of 1954 while attending summer school at Harvard.

Features of 1572 Massachusetts Ave:

  • Resident super
  • Common roof deck
  • Elevator
  • Storage and laundry in the basement
  • Fireplace in many of the units
1572 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
1572 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Recent Sales of Bay State Condos:

A five-room, 1294 sq.ft. two-bedroom condo on the 4th floor sold for $595,000 in 2007.

A three-room, 606 sq.ft. one-bedroom condo on the 2nd floor sold in 2009 for $345,000

If there are condos for sale or rent in the building they’ll appear below. Click on the photo for more information.


The Bay State condos are located at 1572 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Categories: Property Info
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment »

If This House Could Talk – Cambridgeport History Day

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.

Early entrant in the If This House Could Talk project for Cambridgeport History Day

Early entrant in the If This House Could Talk project for 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  –


Categories: Area Events
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

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



Categories: Area Info
Tags: ,
Comments: 3 Comments »

Berkeley Street Cambridge – Real Estate, Architecture and History

Richard Henry Dana Jr.'s House on Berkeley Street in Cambridge MA

Richard Henry Dana Jr.'s House on Berkeley Street in Cambridge MA

Just one block long, Berkeley Street is remarkably rich in history and architecture.  Located just blocks from the heart of Harvard Square behind Brattle Street, the street is one of the most attractive – and interesting – in Cambridge.  Berkeley Street is part of the Old Cambridge Historic District, regulated by the Cambridge Historical Commission.  The street was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

 History of Berkeley Street

Part of Berkeley Street was once land encompassed by the large Vassal-Craigie estate.  Another portion was owned by the Hill family.  It was laid out in two parts from 1851 to 1852 and named to honor philosopher Bishop George Berkeley.

The street has a rich history and was home to several Cambridge authors:

  • Richard Henry Dana Jr, author of Two Years Before The Mast, lived at 4 Berkeley Street for 17 years. Dana’s house was behind the Brattle Street home of his friend, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  It was Dana who gave the street its name.
  • Another of Dana’s friends, author and editor William Dean Howells, rented across the street at 3 Berkeley Street for two years
  • Historian John Fiske lived at 22 Berkeley Street. Fiske was a leading proponent of Darwin’s theories. In an 1898 article about Fiske, the New York Times described 22 Berkeley Street as “a substantial square house of the mansard roofed type, so popular twenty years ago” and gives a detailed description of Fiske’s expansive library.
  • No. 15 was home to a private school for girls, the Berkeley Street School, from 1863 to 1912 when it merged with the Cambridge School for Girls
  • Frank Bolles, author, naturalist and Secretary of Harvard, lived at no. 6

Architecture on Berkeley Street

The Old Cambridge volume of the Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge by Bainbridge Bunting and Robert H. Nylander notes that Berkeley Street has “the best concentration of Bracketed and Mansard houses in the city, with textbook examples at 4, 5, 20, and 22.”

Douglas Shand-Tucci, in his book Built in Boston: City and Suburb, 1800-2000, describes 16 Berkeley Street, built in 1905, as having

“some of the same design elements one sees in the Prairie Style – the blocky, geometric form, the horizontal quality, strongly reinforced by low, lidlike, and wide projecting roofs…”

15 Berkeley Street is in the Italian Villa style.  Several Queene Annes are on the street and the most recent house on the street, no. 24 is a brick ended Colonial Revival built in 1936.

Berkeley Street Cambridge Real Estate

Homes on the street are large, as are the lots, making real values quite high.  In 2007 a portion of one of the large houses, deeded as a single family and about 1500 sq.ft. in size, sold for $875,000.  A free standing single family home sold in 2006 for $4,000,000 and in 2007 another sold for $4,935,000.

You can search the MLS for Cambridge homes for sale by using the link below.  You’ll have full access to the MLS and can adjust the price range, towns, style and more.


 Here are photos of some of the houses on Berkeley Street. If you click on the image you can get a larger view with additional details about the houses:


Categories: Area Info
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment »

Oliver Wendell Holmes Day in Cambridge

Bigelow Chapel - Mount Auburn Cemetery - Cambridge MA

Bigelow Chapel - Mount Auburn Cemetery - Cambridge MA

This Saturday is going to be a busy day – the Camera Obscura in Somerville in the afternoon and in the morning – it’s the 200th birthday celebration for Oliver Wendell Holmes

Physician, poet, professor, and writer, Holmes was part of the literary scene in Cambridge and Boston and his friends included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russel Lowell.  On a side note – if you haven’t read Matthew Pearl’s mystery novel, The Dante Club, in which Holmes and his poet friends are major characters, you’re in for a treat.

The City of Boston and the City of Cambridge have declared Saturday, August 29th Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Day.

Holmes was born in Cambridge and is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  On Saturday several events are planned at Mount Auburn.  There will be a performance with Dr. Holmes portrayed by actor Wendell Refior and a lecture about Holmes by Dr. Charles S. Bryan.  A wreath will be laid at Holmes’ grave.

The ceremony takes place at the Bigelow Chapel in Mount Auburn Cemetery on Saturday, August 29, 2009 from 10 am to noon.

 Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Categories: Area Events
Comments: 1 Comment »

16 Chauncy Street – Cambridge Condos

Entrance to 16 Chauncy in Cambridge Mass

Entrance to 16 Chauncy in Cambridge Mass

16 Chauncy Street in Cambridge Massachusetts is located just blocks from Harvard Square, close to Lesley College, Harvard University, the Law School and Longy School of Music.

History of 16 Chauncy Street

16 Chauncy Street was built in 1929 as a residential hotel called the Continental Hotel Apartments.  A 1963 Time magazine article about the difficulties facing the hotel industry quoted the Continental’s owner, Chauncey Depew Steele, “‘It’s going to be a survival of the fittest. A lot of old hotels are going to end up as old ladies’ and old men’s homes.””  Instead, the hotel is today a condominium building with 53 condos.

A plaque outside the building commemorates Vladimor Nabokov’s residency in the building. He and his wife lived in Apt. 10 at the Continental Hotel in 1956 while he completed research at Harvard for his translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.

16 Chauncy Street Cambridge Condos

There are studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedroom condos in the building. Some units have been renovated over the years, others will be found in close to original condition.  Heat and hot water are included in the condo fee.  Features include:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Fireplaces in some units
  • An elevator
  • A shared patio and large backyard

Units range in size from 199 to 916 square feet.  Recently one-bedrooms have sold in the $330,000s and small studios have sold in the low $200,000s.  Sales price per square foot ranged from $568 to $631.

Click here to check for available units.

Check out these other condos in Cambridge


If you’d like more information about 16 Chauncy Street or other Cambridge real estate options call Liz Bolton at 617-504-1737.

Categories: Property Info
Tags: ,
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

Copyright © 2008 - 2009 Centers And Squares     Agent Login     Design by Real Estate Tomato     Powered by Tomato Real Estate Blogs

Real Estate Tomato