The original Cambridge
lay to the south of Kirkland street. When the little hamlet began at the river and extended northwards to the point now known as Harvard Square, the districts east, north and west were wildernesses.
The tracts nearest to the river were known as “marshes” --“Windmill Marsh
, Ox Marsh
, Ship Marsh
, Common Marsh
, and Long Marsh
,” as they were named in order, as we go from a point near the hospital eastward to the Brookline bridge
All the lower Port was then known as the “Great Marsh.”
The higher ground outside the “pales” or palisades, with which the settlement was at first surrounded, was used as pasture-ground, that to the northwest being known as the “Cow common,” and that to the northeast being called the “Ox-pasture.”
At first this was south of the Charlestown Path
, but later a tract was added to the north of it. The “pales” ran along a little north of where Gore Hall stands, and the ground outside of them we may think of as covered with forest consisting of oaks, pines and walnuts, as Dr. Holmes
says, with a narrow wood-road finding its way among them.
This road was first called “The Charlestown Path
,” and was variously designated in deeds as “The Highway from Watertown
,” “The road that leads from Cambridge
,” “The Charlestown
road” and “The great County road” ; and it lacked a personal name until the selectmen, about 1830, gave it that of “Kirkland
,” after the president of the University
from 1810 to 1828.
Certainly the street was worthy of that noble name, if the good old “Charlestown road” must be given up.
It may be deemed significant that all attempts to make the old street conform to modern habits have failed, for the tracks laid down for street-cars became