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The oldest road in Cambridge.

Rev. Theodore F. Wright.
When a visitor to the classic shades stands in front of the Hemenway Gymnasium and looks down Kirkland street, bordered with its elms, quiet, retired, homelike, he little realizes that he is looking upon the oldest street in Cambridge and upon one of warlike associations. The spacious houses with their well shaded lawns, and the extreme beauty of Divinity avenue, do not suggest this, but it is even so. The quietest street in Cambridge has longest felt the movement of busy and even of hurrying feet.

The “Path from Charlestown to Watertown” was the first name of this road, and that was in its very earliest days before Cambridge was founded. Charlestown was settled in 1628 and Watertown soon after; thus the connecting path antedates the planting of Cambridge in 1630, as the date is given on the city seal, but the first houses seem to have been built in 1631 in what was then Newetowne. This Charlestown path came over Washington street in Somerville and through Union Square, followed the line of Kirkland street to where the Common now is, crossed to the line of Brattle street, and then went on to Watertown in the course of the present Mount Auburn street. Of course this whole way was of equal age, but, as only a part of what is now Brattle street belonged to it, there is reason for calling Kirkland street the oldest way in Cambridge, because its whole length lies on the Charlestown path.

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