Posted tagged ‘history’

A Harvard Square Saturday

May 15, 2011

Although the weather was pretty bleak, I spent a nice afternoon in Harvard Square on Saturday. I walked there from Porter Square, where I had just gone to the gym.

These photos were taken at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Everett Street, where Harvard University is constructing a new law school building. The building is almost ready, it appears (construction has sure taken awhile!)

Part of the new building

Some of the project crew members

One of the building's arches

As I approached Harvard Square, I spotted a crowd encircling some martial art practitioners/dancers. Here’s a pic:

Listen to the music the martial arts people were moving to by checking out this video:

As I waited for my fiance to finish up an exam at Harvard, I read some of the history displays near Garden Street.

Part of one of the history displays

I learned a bunch of new things about Cambridge, including:

  • Cambridge was first called “Newtowne”
  • The name was changed to Cambridge when Harvard University was founded. Cambridge is a reference to the university city of Cambridge, England.
  • Harvard is named after John Harvard, the university’s first benefactor
  • The Puritans founded Cambridge in 1630. It was meant to be their permanent capital, as the location was safe from an attack by sea. It didn’t last as a political capital, though it became an educational one (with the establishment of Harvard).
  • The community criticized some of Harvard’s early buildings, saying they were “too gorgeous for a wilderness.”
  • In the 18th century wealthy royalists built elaborate mansions and gardens along Brattle Street (the stretch of mansions was called “Tory Row). They had grown  rich from service to the crown and the rum and slavery trade. When the revolution broke, they fled to Canada and England.

Fittingly, on Saturday my fiance and I had lunch at a relatively new restaurant in Harvard Square named Tory Row.

I had some fresh pineapple juice ($2.50) and a grilled marinated chicken breast sandwich with chipotle aioli, mixed greens, and roasted potatoes ($11).

My meal

The roll was nice and soft, the aioli had the perfect kick to it, and the mixed greens and roasted potatoes provided a nice accompaniment to the sandwich.

After lunch, I saw Harvard Square’s newest Starbuck’s. It’s by Citizens Bank and the T.

A sign on the door states the cafe will be opening on May 20 (this Friday). According to comments at the end of this local news post, several business have failed at that location (including an Abercrombie & Fitch).

Harvard Square is such a fun place to walk through. You see guys like this painter, selling their wares.

One of the history displays had mentioned that the country’s first printing press arrived in Cambridge (from England) in the 1630s. I shared this tidbit with my fiance; he told me he knew where the printing press was housed. He took me to Dunster Street, where there’s this plaque.

A little ways down the street we saw this:

What a coincidence! I look forward to trying this place out!

Did you know there was a second Mayflower?

August 31, 2010

I didn’t, but recently learned this upon visiting Plymouth, Massachusetts with my parents. The replica of the original Mayflower sits at Plymouth’s State Pier.

Part of the Mayflower II

The original Mayflower transported the Pilgrims from England to Massachusetts in 1620. It returned to England and was likely dismantled for scrap lumber in 1623.

The replica ship was constructed in England in 1955, and sailed to the United States in 1957. The purpose of its construction and voyage was to symbolize Anglo-American friendship/the countries’ collaboration during World War II.

Here are some more pictures I took of the ship:

The Pilgrims ate such foods as beef, fish, oatmeal and biscuits on the Mayflower. They also drank beer and wine.

A whole family would share a space like this.

A window for fresh air

I learned that the Pilgrims left England a lot later in the year than they had intended, and due to harsh weather arrived a lot farther north than they had intended (they arrived at Provincetown Harbor instead of the Hudson River). They moved down the coast, exploring the Cape Cod area. Ultimately, after an altercation with Native Americans, they relocated to Plymouth.

On the Mayflower there were about 100 passengers plus crew. About half of the passenger died, from such diseases as scurvy.

Here’s a picture I took of State Pier last Tuesday. It wasn’t the nicest day:

My mom wondered how people get to their boats. Do they walk/swim, she wondered. I didn’t know how to answer this question.

Maybe I should go back to seventh grade…

May 14, 2010

This week I’m in Syracuse, New York, working as a tutor. My student is in seventh grade, and behind in his school work. My job is to get him as caught up as possible, as well as motivate him to go to school at this difficult time.

I think things are going well so far. What’s surprised me, though, is the amount of information I’ve learned this week. There are so many things that seventh-graders are learning that either I’ve forgotten or never learned myself. For example:

Did you know that in the early- to mid-1800s a number of Native Americans living in the South resisted the military’s attempts to move them west? Some of them were successful, and their descendants live in the South (states like North Carolina and Florida) today.

Well, one interesting story is about a Cherokee Indian in North Carolina named Tsali, and two of his sons, who gave up their life so their tribe could stay in North Carolina. Tsali accidentally killed an American soldier during a struggle, and escaped with his family.

The military couldn’t find the family anywhere. So they sent Tsali a message saying if he and two of his sons gave up their lives the rest of the Cherokees still in North Caroline could stay in North Carolina. The three of them accepted and were killed. Their fellow Cherokees were then left alone.

I’ve learned the most about American history.

I’ve also learned some things about grammar that I probably should have known already. (more…)