The History of 215 First Street Cambridge Ma in Under 10 Minutes.

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cambridge, building, structure @ Pixabay

What is 215 first street cambridge ma?

215 first street cambridge ma the history. 215 first street cambridge ma is a story of not just one house, but of a community. This historic home’s rich history includes the stories of a frontier town, an industrial powerhouse, and fixture in Cambridge’s political and social life. The home at 215 1st Street was built by a man who became known for innovations in farming and industry—just ask your blender what it thinks of him! His contributions to Cambridge have made him one of its most influential citizens from his time up through the present day. The house was built sometime in the 1850’s for David S. Thoreau (yes, he of Walden fame), on a large lot where Thoreau had once kept a creamery. The home was built in an Italianate style, and today boasts large bay windows and an open porch.

The house at 215 1st Street is where Henry Austin Whitney spent his time between college periods, until it became clear that Thoreau’s house was too small for the Yale graduate’s growing family. He moved to larger quarters in another part of town on 1st Street, but came back soon enough to purchase the home.

Some more facts:

Whitney was a successful businessman and a leading member of Cambridge’s business, civic, and political communities. He was a founder of the New England Cotton Oil Company and the National Live Stock Exchange. He was also involved in several other Cambridge areas, including serving on the Board of Selectmen, as president of Harvard’s Associates, and as treasurer of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. He served in both the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1866-67 and 1869-70.

Whitney enjoyed taking on many projects during his life, from building designs to local town improvements. In fact, he and his family were responsible for many upgrades to the neighborhood around First and Massachusetts Streets – including the development of businesses, schools, and libraries. Whitney’s wife Emily Fenwick Whitney was an avid reader, gathering rare books and children’s literature in the Whitney Library. She did much to promote reading in Cambridge by attending schoolboys’ club meetings and promoting the friendship bazaar held at the First Parish Church.

The original Thoreau house was demolished around 1906 according to a Cambridge Historical Commission document of December 4 1902, which stated: “They have procured a portion of the original lot upon which David S. Thoreau had built his house in 1852. This lot has been excavated and is now being used as a cellar and storage space for Mr. Whitney.” The “Whitney House” was built around 1906 and occupied by the Whitney family until it was sold in 1959 to Harvard Medical School, where they still reside. In 1962, 215 first street appeared on the National Register of Historic Places. 215 1st Street is currently owned by Harvard Medical School. It has been used by the university since as a faculty residence, but has not had much of its original decoration preserved. 215 First Street’s historical significance lies in its relationship to the Thoreau family’s years in Cambridge between 1867 and 1884.

What makes it so unique?

1. 215 first street cambridge ma was a place where the Thoreau family lived for many years.

2. The original Thoreau home is now only a memory, replaced by the more elaborate Whitney family home in 1906.

3. The Thoreau Family was one of the early Cambridge settlers and pioneers who experienced life in Cambridge from its earliest days to up through the early 1900’s.

4. The Whitney family along with the Thoreau family have been the owners of 215 first street cambridge ma for over a century.

What makes this historical home so special? 

215 1st Street is an interesting Cambridge landmark because it has many features that made it a desirable place for the Whitney family to live in. Most notably, the house sits at an important intersection, where main routes from Boston meet in Cambridge: First and Massachusetts Streets: First Street connected Boston’s North Station to downtown, and Massachusetts streets connected Cambridge to Boston via the Charles River. The intersection was a major crossing point for travelers and locals from both cities. At 1st and Mass.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of 215 1st Street are many. The house is now a historical landmark, and stands as a reminder of how Cambridge once was. 215 First Street could be improved by keeping the house in good repair and continuing to preserve the historical significance that makes it so unique. In addition, the house also has some other benefits that would benefit any university or business interested in choosing to live there.

How can I get in touch with the people who are responsible for this historical property? 

215 First Street Cambridge MA is owned by Harvard University, and is managed by the Office of University-Affiliated Properties. 


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