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The Orchard Street District: Vernacular Gems in Tip O’Neill’s Neighborhood- Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Porter Square 1899 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA, 02140 United States (map)
Photo Courtesy of Glenna Lang

Photo Courtesy of Glenna Lang

Please join us for a free walking tour to explore, observe, and share stories about the Orchard Street neighborhood north of Porter Square, renowned as the longtime residence of House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill. Its single- and multi-family dwellings–with their delightful and varied vernacular styles–demonstrate the evolution of suburban living from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.

The district’s street layout, between Mass. Ave. in Cambridge and Elm St. and Holland Ave. in Somerville, reflects the changes in transportation, and the street names attest to the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who converted Cambridge and Somerville farmland into a thriving middle-class neighborhood. The cities of Cambridge and Somerville have been studying the area for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Cambridge Historical Commission staff members Sarah Burks and Charles Sullivan will lead the walk and offer historic background. We will also look to neighborhood residents and other walkers to provide further information and observations.

Time(s): 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Date: Saturday, May 3, 2014

Event Start/End: 

  • BEGIN at Porter Square across Somerville Ave. from the T-station, in the little park area with the black-and-white striped sidewalk in front of Healthworks, CVS, and Emack & Bolio’s.
  • END at Davis Square at the Blue Shirt Café, where those who wish may continue conversation and purchase lunch.

Host: Glenna Lang

Theme: Walking

Accessibility: This event is accessible and open to Wheelchairs, Bicycles, Seniors, Children.

Registration: No, all are welcome.

Cambridge: Orchard Street District Walk Route. Courtesy of Glenna Lang.

Cambridge: Orchard Street District Walk Route. Courtesy of Glenna Lang.