Cambridge, Massachusetts is a rich mixture of closely mingled examples of architectural periods—17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th century, with the 21st century already near the drawing board and before the planning board. Yet implicit in the city is a continuity overruling what might be chaos.
The Cambridge Historical Commission was established not to piously preserve a static past, but to make manifest this living continuity between the best that has gone before and the best that can be actively encouraged for the future. The Survey may represent the last, best hope of establishing such a sense of continuity (both historical and architectural), because Cambridge is in the midst of a period of decisive, even divisive, change—an invasion of automobiles demanding new highways, institutional expansion into residential areas, the possible destruction of viable neighborhoods that are both socially and architecturally cohesive by projects that are likely to be only temporary encampments in the longer view.
This Report surveys the Cambridgeport neighborhood, which, as its name suggests, lies along a waterway—it is embraced by a bend in the Charles River.