Cambridge's Central Square...Points to Diverse Cultures, Past and Present

Central Square stands at the crossroads of Cambridge, located at the intersection of four major neighborhoods--Cambridgeport, Mid-Cambridge, Area 4 and Riverside.

But the square is also at a crossroads in its history, as it transitions from a rich heritage into an unknown future.

Since July 1998, the Central Square Oral History Project, under the direction of the Cambridge Historical Commission, has been focusing on this history.


Through countless hours of interviews and research, project director Sarah Boyer has been probing into what has made Central Square what it is today. She plans to complete a book, most likely titled Crossroads, detailing the existing accounts and memories of Central Square's history by June 2000.

"This is an oral history," Boyer says. "It can be passed down from generation to generation, so the story can live on. These are remarkable people, and no one knows about them. I want to celebrate their lives."

The Heyday

Central Square has been at the core of Cambridge, linking the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods to each other, throughout the 20th century.

After the introduction of the subway system into Cambridge in 1912, followed by two world wars, Central Square gained prominence as a thriving shopping district.

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