Area 4, Cambridge

Area 4, Cambridge

Area 4 is one of the neighborhoods of Cambridge, Massachusetts, roughly between Central Square, Inman Square, and MIT. It is bounded on the south by Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street, on the west by Prospect Street, on the north by Hampshire Street, and on the east by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks. Area 4 is a densely populated residential neighborhood with about 7,000 residents.

History and Name

Prior to the filling in [ [http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/bos_fill2.html Boston: History of the Landfills] Accessed 2008-09-01] of Boston's Back Bay and Charles River marshes, brackish saltwater reached into what is now Area 4. After landfill allowed Cambridge to expand over the area now known as Cambridgeport, this entire portion of Cambridge was known as the "Old Port". Cambridge's Old Port was split into two planning zones, Area 4 and Area 5, by the Cambridge Community Development department, [ [http://www.cambridgema.gov/~CDD/ Cambridge Community Development Home Page ] ] with Massachusetts Avenue as the dividing line. The "Port" name went to Area 5, aka Cambridgeport, where the waterfront is currently located, and inland Area 4 lost its name and became known by its neighborhood planning designation (which is also its police zone).

Elias Howe, Jr. invented the sewing machine at 55 Cherry Street in Area 4 in 1846. Howe's was the first patented functional sewing machine. Isaac Singer, who made sewing machines commercially successful, was forced to pay patent royalties to Howe. [ [http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventions/a/sewing_machine.htm The History of the Sewing Machine - Elias Howe and Isaac Singer ] ]

Area 4 was the site of the first reciprocal telephone conversation, which took place between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson on October 9, 1876. Watson was at an office in Area 4, and Bell was at an office on Cambridge Street in Boston.

Candy Industry

Area 4 was the early hub of the candy industry in the United States, beginning with the first candy factory in Cambridge, started by Robert Douglass in 1826 on Windsor Street. Notable Area 4 candy factories included Cambridge Brands, makers of Junior Mints, still in operation on Main Street; the Squirrel Brands company, makers of Squirrel nut caramel (the inspiration for the band name Squirrel Nut Zippers); and the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), whose factory located across Massachusetts Avenue from today's Area 4 was the largest candy factory in the world.

Notable People and Places

The Garment District is a low cost new and used clothing store located in a historic building. It is widely known throughout the Boston area, especially its "Dollar a Pound" section. In 2004-2005 the store was threatened with redevelopment into condominiums, but was saved with help by the Area 4 neighborhood coalition and a historical designation for the building by the City of Cambridge. [ [http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=510973 Historic Garment District Saved, Harvard Crimson] ]

Squirrel Brand Park [ [http://www.cambridgema.gov/TheWorks/contents/projInfo/squirrelbrand.html DPW Construction Updates - City of Cambridge, Massachusetts ] ] is located on the grounds of the old Squirrel Brand candy factory.

Clement G. Morgan, 1859–1929, was the first black Cambridge City Councilor, and founded the Niagara Movement, a predecessor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Morgan grew up on Columbia Street and on Prospect Street. Morgan Park in Area 4 is named after him.

Denise Simmons, a Cambridge City Councilor, lives in Area 4 and gets most of her support in elections from this neighborhood. She is seen as Area 4's representative to city government.

David Scondras, the first openly gay member of the Boston City Council and founder of Fenway Community Health Center in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, moved to Area 4 in early 2005 and became the neighborhood coalition's community organizer.He was forced to resign from this position after being arrested in Lowell Mass for soliciting sex from what he thoughtwas an underaged boy he met over the internet. He later pleaded guilty to the charge and was required to register asa sex offender.

References

External links

* [http://www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/cp/neigh/4/area4.html Cambridge Community Development Area 4 page]
* [http://a4nc.org/ Cambridge Area 4 Neighborhood Coalition]


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