Welcome to the Harvard Square Centennial Page:
It is my pleasure to congratulate all members, current and past, upon this celebration of the Harvard Square Business Association’s centennial year. It has been my honor to collaborate with the board, business owners, Harvard University, the City of Cambridge, and the spectacular variety of entities which make the Square such a vibrant place.
Like many people in the community, my Square experience is multi-faceted. It is a place where my personal and professional roots run deep and wide. As an adolescent, I worked alongside my siblings shoveling sidewalks, cleaning buildings and parking cars for my father, Louis. Over his fifty year career, my father found that operating businesses in the Square was challenging, but stimulating. To him it was a place where the meeting of minds, cultures, classes and philosophies created sparks -- and those sparks demanded creative collaboration. It wasn’t long before I felt that enigmatic pull that landed my father in Harvard Square, and by eighteen, I was living and working full-time in the Square.
I’ve witnessed student protests and street acrobatics, and watched puppeteers toil, as heads of state drive by, while buskers work a few yards from where music careers are launched. Buildings have gone up, and come down, businesses turn around and trends come and go, but the Square’s essence remains. To some, the Square is the backdrop to their education, a brief stopover, or their forever home. To others, it is where they spread their entrepreneurial wings or worked diligently for a lifetime. And for some it is a landmark, or an interesting spot to hang out, or the place to get that special book or gift or meal. And there are many more stories on the spectrum, generations of stories, as Harvard Square is big enough and yet intimate enough to play a variety of roles in peoples’ lives.
The business association represents the many stakeholders who care deeply for this place. It is our job, as good stewards, to be sure that the Square continues to maintain its unique character while being able to evolve, adjust, and grow. It is essential that we think not only of our time here, but beyond each storefront, beyond the walls of businesses and institutions. Community is built door to door, street by street, block by block – one individual at a time.
Many places measure themselves against the Square, and my hope is that it will continue to set a high standard for authentic urban experience for all those who pass through.
President, Harvard Square Business Association
HSBA Centennial Year Board of Directors!
Harvard Square is Famous for Many Things:
It is home to the oldest university in America, George Washington took command of the Continental Army here, in the 19th century it was a center of abolitionist fervor, and in the 20th century it was famous for anti-war protests. One thing that has remained true through all these periods of time is the connection between Harvard Square and the printed word. Nearly from the beginning, Harvard Square has been a home and a gathering place for authors, poets, publishers, printers, teachers students and booksellers.
Three hundred and seventy one years ago the first printing press in this hemisphere was carried across the Atlantic with the first American printer, Stephen Daye. Where did they set up shop? In Harvard Square, of course. When Governor John Winthrop crossed the Atlantic on the Arbella, one of his shipmates was Anne Bradstreet, who would later become a Harvard Square resident and the first published American poet. The Daye Press was replaced by the University Press and Bradstreet was followed by giants of 19th and 20th century American poetry such as Longfellow, Lowell, T.S. Eliot and e. e. cummings all of whom lived through and loved the books of Harvard Square.
The archival pages of the Harvard Square Business Association reveal many different chapters in the History of Harvard Square. Many roads, many lives, and many authors have interstected at the area we now call the "Super Crosswalk!" We invite you to view these pages and send us your own contribution and experiences of business in Harvard Square over the last 100 years.