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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Discovering Cambridge Club

Captivating Historical Haunts
Beverly Malone, Director of Teacher Training Institute

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Discovering Cambridge Club went to two houses today.  The first was Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson House at 29 Buckingham Street. He started the “Miss Markham School” by hiring Jeanette Markham to tutor his daughter Margaret Higginson.  The school was later incorporated as The Buckingham School.  The Markham Building is still standing - on the first floor was the school and the second floor served as her home. Colonel Higginson was a dedicated abolitionist.  He risked his life to help Anthony Burns (a slave) escape from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  During the civil war, Higginson was a colonel to the first black regiment in South Carolina.  In later life he worked for women’s rights.

We then went to Emery T. Morris House at 30 Parker Street.  He worked with W.E.B. DuBois and Clement Morgan to start the Niagara Movement, which was an early civil rights organization.  He collected one of the largest antislavery libraries in New England.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The Discovering Cambridge Club had a fun trip to the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House located at 159 Brattle Street.  The group was decked out in authentic 1775 cloaks hand sewn by Beverly Malone.

This house is the second oldest house in Cambridge and was originally built in 1685. 
The Cambridge Historical Society now has its headquarters there.  They were extremely hospitable – having a reenactor tell the story of several centuries through the use of our senses.  We were able to hear, smell, see, feel and even taste what it would be like in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries through this “witness” house.  Tasting molasses and gingersnaps, smelling rum and listening to quacking ducks during the early years were highlights.  Smelling old fireplaces, used tobacco or listening to noise from wagons were not as enjoyable.


We checked out the large baking oven in the fireplace, 

found out that Judge Joseph Lee was a Loyalist (Tory) during the American Revolution and fled from the house at the beginning.  Another man by the name of Cornelius Waldo made most of his money from the slave trade and from buying and selling rum.  

Representing the 19th and 20th centuries we were able to inspect fancy wallpaper and even see an original stamp tax.  We also found out that Cambridge has manufactured over 29 different candies – including Charleston Chew, Junior Mints, Sugar Daddies, Squirrel Brand Nuts, Fig Newtons, NECCO wafers and Tootsie Rolls. Who would have known that Cambridge was a leading “Candy Land.”?  We also found out that Cambridge is also known for its inventions including the Poloroid Land camera, sewing machines, Doppler Radar, first computer game, GPS, World Wide Web, stereo speakers and even the Zip Car.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Discovering Cambridge Club began exploring the rich historical area around the Lower School.  This group of grade 5 and 6 students started their investigations by scrutinizing Dr. Percy W. Bridgman’s House located on the Lower School property at 10 Buckingham Place.  Dr. Bridgman was a Harvard professor and Noble Prize winner in Physics.  He was the fifth American to be honored with this award for doing research in high pressure physics.  The group of students examined every inch of the house.  The most intriguing area was the basement in which they discovered “horsehair” plaster  (known as Lath and Plaster) and a few eight legged creatures of the order Araneae.

The Bridgman House is now home to BB&N’s Communications office, School Counselor and Teacher Training Institute on the second floor, and the After School Program on the first floor. A few spiders are nestled in the basement.


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