West Cambridge has a long and rich history, with roots in the original Puritan settlement. Here is some information on West Cambridge’s history:
-In 1630, when John Winthrop delivered his famous sermon aboard the Arbella before disembarking upon America for the first time at Southampton harbor, he saw one of his favorite hunting grounds and fishing spots – what would later become known as “The Great Meadow” – from across the Charles River in Charlestown. His men rowed him to shore downstream so that he could explore this area more thoroughly.
-The Great Meadow provided the perfect setting for one of John Winthrop’s experiments in community building. He wanted to create a society that was “godly and happy,” which he believed could be achieved by cultivating virtue, minimizing vice, and living out an idealized vision of Puritanism. And so in 1632, he led 35 men who were willing to share his dream upstream across the Charles River to settle their new town on The Great Meadow – what would become West Cambridge today.
-In 1997, due to changes in industry and consequent population shifts away from this area, Harvard University sold two large tracts of land bordering Route 128 (which borders the eastern edge of west Cambridge) back into residential use as part of its ongoing effort to re-establish its core campus in the Charles River area.
Today, West Cambridge is a diverse, well-established residential community of about 12,000 people.