The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Cambridge (Mass.)

Edition of 1879. See also Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CAMBRIDGE, a city, and one of the capitals of Middlesex co., Mass., a suburb of Boston, lying W. of that city, and separated from it by the river Charles, which is nearly a mile wide. It embraces four divisions, known locally as Old Cambridge, North Cambridge, Cambridgeport, and East Cambridge, in each of which there is a post office. The population has increased from 2,115 in 1790 to 15,215 in 1850, 26,060 in 1860, and 39,634 in 1870. Of the population in 1870, 27,579 were of native and 12,055 of foreign birth; 38,785 were white and 848 colored. There were 7,897 families, occupying 6,384 dwellings. The city covers an extensive area, generally level, and is laid out in broad streets and avenues, lined with elms and other shade trees. Conspicuous among these is the Washington elm, beneath which Washington assumed the command of the American army in 1775. The tree is probably of the native forest growth, and is still vigorous.

Cambridge (Mass.) - Washington Elm.jpg

Washington Elm.

Many of the private residences are surrounded with highly cultivated grounds, lawns, flower gardens, and orchards. Many structures erected before the revolution are still standing, among others the house used by Washington for his headquarters, now inhabited by the poet Longfellow.

Cambridge (Mass.) - Longfellow's House.jpg

Longfellow's House.

Cambridge is chiefly noted as being the seat of Harvard university, the oldest and most richly endowed institution for instruction in America. (See Harvard University.) The college grounds are in Old Cambridge, about 3 m. from Boston, and embrace about 14 acres, laid out with much taste, and shaded with elms of great size and age. Connected with the university are Agassiz's museum, a short distance N. E. of the college; the botanical garden, about three fourths of a mile N. W. of the college, and near it the observatory, containing one of the most valuable telescopes in the United States; also, the divinity school, near Longfellow's House. the museum, the Lawrence scientific school, and the Harvard law school. Memorial hall, erected to the memory of the students who lost their lives in the civil war, is a large and handsome building in the immediate vicinity of the ollege, and will be used for the meetings of the alumni. A granite monument has recently been erected by the city on the common near the college grounds in honor of the soldiers who fell in the civil war.—The cemetery of Mount Auburn, noted as the burial place of many distinguished persons, is in Cambridge and Watertown. It includes 125 acres of land covered with a vigorous growth of forest trees. The tract is undulating, with bold eminences and beautiful dells. The highest eminence is 125 ft. above the tide in the river Charles, which winds along at a short distance from its base. A round tower of hammered granite, with a lookout 70 ft. from the ground, has been erected upon its summit. The grounds are laid out with curved avenues adapted to the inequalities of the surface. The walks are smoothly gravelled and bordered with ornamental shrubs and flowers. The burial lots contain about 300 sq. ft. each, and on many of them are monuments of rare workmanship and elaborate design. The entrance is through a gateway of granite, in the Egyptian style of architecture. Among the monuments is one to Spurzheim, the phrenologist, of Italian marble, and after the design of Scipio's tomb at Rome. The cemetery was dedicated in 1831.—Cambridge is connected with Boston by two bridges, and with Charlestown, Brookline, and Brighton by separate bridges across Charles river. The Boston and Lowell and the Fitchburg railroads pass through East Cambridge, and several horse railroads connect the city with Boston and the adjoining towns. The streets are lighted with gas, well supplied with sewers, and some of them are paved. There is little business activity in Old Cambridge and North Cambridge, the population consisting largely of persons engaged in business in Boston, of retired merchants, and especially of literary and scientific men, many of whom reside here. There are, however, an extensive bookbindery and several printing offices widely known for the excellence of their work. Among these are the Riverside press and the University printing office; the latter is the oldest printing establishment in the United States, having been founded in 1639. At Cambridgeport is a noted telescope manufactory, where the largest and best astronomical instruments in the United States have been made. The principal manufacturing establishments of Cambridge are 4 of locomotives, steam engines, and boilers, 2 of glass, 3 of chemicals, 3 of brushes, 5 of carriages, 8 of marble and stone, 3 of sperm and tallow candles, 16 of soap, 1 of chairs and sofas, 6 of cabinet ware, 1 of gas, 5 of ice, 1 of diaries, 1 of army bedsteads, 2 bacon works, 3 iron founderies, 2 machine shops, 2 brick yards, 3 tanning and currying establishments, 6 printing establishments, 3 bookbinderies, 3 brass founderies, and a manufactory of gas, oil, and kerosene fixtures and lamps. In 1873 there were 6 national banks, with a capital of $750,000, and 4 savings banks. The government is vested in a mayor, a board of 10 aldermen, 2 from each ward, and a common council of 20 members, all of whom are elected annually on the first Monday in December, and enter upon their official duties the first Monday in January. The city hall is in Cambridgeport, and the court house and jail are in East Cambridge. The police department comprises a police justice, two special justices, and a chief of police, with a force of 46 members. The fire department comprises 84 members under a chief and 4 assistant engineers, 4 steam fire engines, one hook and ladder truck, 8,000 ft. of hose, and a fire-alarm telegraph. The city is supplied with water from Fresh, Spy, and Little ponds, whence it is brought to two reservoirs for distribution. The total cost of the water works to Dec. 1, 1872, was $1,030,384. The debt of the city, Dec. 1, 1872, was $2,185,843. The total expenditures for 1872 amounted to $1,284,314. The total valuation of property amounted to $21,527,100 in 1862, $28,385,700 in 1866, and $48,609,000 in 1871. The total tax, including state, county, and city, in 1871, was $748,862. The public schools are of a high order, and are classified as primary and grammar schools and a high school. In the last named, which ranks among the best in New England, students are prepared for college. In 1872 there were 35 public schools, including 7 evening schools. The number of school houses was 27. There were 7,000 pupils and 165 teachers, of whom 145 were females. In the high school were 300 pupils and 9 instructors. The total expenditures for school purposes during the year amounted to $235,000. Besides the public schools, there were 20 private schools with 630 pupils. The principal public library is the Dana library at Cambridgeport, containing 5,500 volumes. A course of free lectures is given annually by the Dowse institute, supported by a bequest of $10,000 by Thomas Dowse. Two weekly newspapers and one biweekly are published in the city. There are 27 churches, viz.: 5 Baptist, 5 Congregational (Trinitarian), 4 Congregational (Unitarian), 4 Episcopal, 3 Methodist, 3 Roman Catholic, and 3 Universalist.—Cambridge was settled in 1630, at first under the name of Newtown, by Gov. Winthrop and other prominent men, who designed to make it the chief town in Massachusetts colony. The annual election for governor was for several years held under an oak tree on the common. The Rev. Mr. Hooker and the Rev. Mr. Stone, graduates of Cambridge university, England, were the first settled ministers of the place, both of whom subsequently accompanied the Connecticut settlers in their journey through the wilderness, and founded Hartford. Mr. Hooker was settled in 1632, and soon had for parishioners the learned men of the colony, most of whom had graduated at Cambridge. In 1636 the general court appropriated £400 for the establishment of a public school at Newtown, which in 1638 was further endowed by the Rev. John Harvard, minister of Charlestown. In honor of the place where the chief men of the colony had received their education, the name of the town was changed to Cambridge, and the school was styled Harvard college. During the war of the revolution, the American army occupied Cambridge while the British were in possession of Boston. The city was incorporated in 1846.