There are indications that Cambridge is yearly becoming of less and less importance as an independent town, and is gradually nearing the fulfillment of the manifest destiny of its geographical position, and is becoming a mere suburb and dependency of Boston. It seems probable that its founders in selecting a site for the university were influenced in the belief that in Cambridge, or New Town, they had hit upon a most excellent place of rural retirement; far enough removed from the temptations of the larger city of Boston for safety, and yet near enough for convenience. Alas, that the mutations of time should have deceived the hopes of these worthy gentlemen! For it cannot be doubted that Harvard has become essentially a city university. Not indeed a city university in the sense in which Columbia can be so called, but certainly a city university in comparison with rural or country colleges like Amherst or Williams.
The greatness of Cambridge, save as a university town, is fast passing away, if indeed its fame has ever been separable from of Harvard. As a city of revolutionary memories Cambridge of course if famous. As for a long time the home of two of the greatest American poets it is everywhere known. But its fame in this last respect certainly, has been principally due to the college, for it was as professors at Harvard that much of the lives of both Mr. Lowell and the late Prof. Long fellow were passed.
When the conservation of Boston capital shall have overcome its timidity and an elevated, quick-transit road from Cambridge to Boston shall have been built, we may look to see what is almost the last of the barriers between the two cities broken down. Already the two are practically one in all respects save that while Cambridge is more and more reserved for use as a residence suburb and a university town, Boston is more and more becoming a commercial metropolis and center of business. The local business of Cambridge has of late years indeed been of very slight account. Even retail tradesmen, in the vicinity of the college at least, have been few in number. A great part of the custom of students as well as of citizens has been transferred to Boston. Only recently a tradesmen occupying a store under one of the college buildings has failed and gone out of business from lack of custom. Another such store has for six months remained without a tenant. These are signs of the closer connection coming about between the two cities.