Scout Archives: A decade’s worth of history returns home

For the last days of June we’re going to share our favorite stories and pictures from Scout’s decade of local reporting. We need you to share those stories alongside your favorites. And then we need you to stand for Scout by becoming a member. Here’s one from May 2nd, 2013!

photoA 133-year-old inscription on a 144-year-old granite slab marking Cambridge’s “First Meeting House” has made a homecoming of sorts after being hidden for 84 years.

What resurfaced near Alewife Station’s construction this past January was a 99″ long/31″ high/11.5″ deep piece of granite full of history that reads: “SITE OF THE FIRST MEETING HOUSE IN CAMBRIDGE ERECTED AD 1632.”

At about 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Cambridge Historical Society moved the historic marker weighing at least 3,000 pounds to its original site located at Dunster and Mt. Auburn streets (where J.Press resides).

After the discovery was made, the Historical Society was notified and they took measures to ensure it was preserved.

Executive director Gavin Kleepsies says the original meeting house was in Harvard Square. Though the marker reads 1632, it wasn’t branded until 1880 when the City of Cambridge paid an engraver to carve the date while celebrating the 250th anniversary of the city’s historical landmark.

“Everyone was tickled by the discovery because we didn’t even know it existed,” Kleespies explains.

Other options for the marker were to either keep it in the Society’s driveway (but that wasn’t possible) or make a bench out of it.

“We didn’t want to do that because it could be confusing for the person looking at it if the marker isn’t in it’s original place,” Kleespies adds.

Before the building was demolished and rubble sent to a landfill at Fresh Pond in 1929, it also housed William Wright’s bakery for nearly 100 years. Following, the space housed several final clubs for Harvard.

Now, Cantabrigians have another artifact to hold onto at no cost to because of the generosity from the Residences at Alewife Station, the Cambridge Historical Society, the Cambridge Historical Commission, S+H Construction, the Fly Club, Public Works, and the Harvard Square Business Association.