Around 1980, Fayerweather Street School students, ages 8-11, conducted a five-month study of their neighborhood. (Image of publication: History Cambridge)

At History Cambridge, we always say: Everyone is a history ambassador. “A Close-up of Huron Avenue” shows just how true that is, no matter how old – or young – you are.

Fayerweather Street School has been around since 1967, but in the 1980s, Peter Richards’ class spent five months studying a stretch of Huron Avenue. The students, ranging in age from 8 to 11, interviewed the elderly, shopkeepers, customers and passersby. They questioned, they interviewed, they surveyed and they mapped. The end result of this collective effort was a comprehensive 70-page report, “A Close-up of Huron Avenue,” that is now a historical document stored in the History Cambridge archives.

Through a charming array of narratives, maps and diagrams, these students tell the story of their neighborhood and capture a snapshot in time of the Cambridge of the 1980s as well as a look back at its origins.

Read the comprehensive report on the History Cambridge website.

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About History Cambridge

History Cambridge started in 1905 as the Cambridge Historical Society. Today we have a new name, a new look and a whole new mission.

We engage with our city to explore how the past influences the present to shape a better future. We strive to be the most relevant and responsive historical voice in Cambridge. We do that by recognizing that every person in our city knows something about Cambridge’s history, and their knowledge matters. We support people in sharing history with each other – and weaving their knowledge together – by offering them the floor, the mic, the platform. We shed light where historical perspectives are needed. We listen to our community. We live by the ideal that history belongs to everyone.

Our theme for 2021 is “How Does Cambridge Mend?” Make history with us at cambridgehistory.org.


Marieke Van Damme is executive director of History Cambridge.

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