Thursday, July 18, 2024

Detail of a painting by Cambridgeport artist Jeff Gardner from an exhibit at Gallery 263. (Photo: Gallery 263)

This year, History Cambridge embarked on a new model of “Doing History.” In the first of what will be a yearly series, we focused on one of Cambridge’s 13 neighborhoods – Cambridgeport – to explore what makes this part of the city and its history unique, as well as what lessons we can learn from Cambridgeport that can help us learn about the city’s broader history. On Thursday, we will celebrate this venture and look back at our Year of Cambridgeport at our annual holiday party, hosted by Gallery 263.

Our programs on Cambridgeport have spanned the centuries and highlighted people, places and events from the Revolutionary War to current issues of interest to neighborhood residents. We delved into the history of Fort Washington, from its creation as an 18th-century earthworks designed to repel the British forces to its transformation into a public park in the 19th century to its contemporary use and residents’ visions for its future. A guided tour created by our student intern – a lifelong Cambridge resident and frequent visitor to Cambridgeport – examined the history of the neighborhood and the ways in which its residents have long been active in advocating for local causes. And the many block parties we attended in Cambridgeport this summer and fall allowed us to connect with our neighbors and hear their stories, as well as the aspects of Cambridgeport history about which they are curious.

Many of our “Did You Know?” articles in Cambridge Day also focused on Cambridgeport, including its economic and industrial history, its immigrant communities and profiles of neighborhood residents whose families have called Cambridgeport home for generations. In addition to our partnership with Cambridge Day, we partnered with a number of local organizations this year to help strengthen our ties to Cambridgeport and deepen our understanding of the neighborhood’s history. We are particularly grateful to the City of Cambridge (especially the Cambridge Historical Commission), Gallery 263, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association and Black History in Action for Cambridgeport for their support. We also want to thank our dedicated volunteers, as well as all of our supporters who have made our programs possible this year.

All are invited to join us from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridgeport, to help us celebrate this year of Cambridgeport. To register for this (free) event, click here. Thank you for coming along with us on our Cambridgeport voyage. Stay tuned for information about our upcoming Year of North Cambridge!


About History Cambridge

History Cambridge started in 1905 as the Cambridge Historical Society. Today we have a new name and a new mission. We engage with our city to explore how the past influences the present to shape a better future. We recognize that every person in our city knows something about Cambridge’s history, and their knowledge matters. We listen to our community and we live by the ideal that history belongs to everyone. Throughout 2023, we are focusing on the history of Cambridgeport. Make history with us at

History Cambridge is a nonprofit organization. Our activities rely on your financial support. If you value articles like this one, give today.

Beth Folsom is programs manager for History Cambridge.