Lechmere Square

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Coordinates: 42°22′15″N 71°4′36″W / 42.37083°N 71.07667°W / 42.37083; -71.07667

Lechmere Square.jpg

Lechmere Square (pronounced /ˈliːtʃmɪr/ "leech-meer") is located at the intersection of Cambridge Street and First Street in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was originally named for the Colonial-era landowner Richard Lechmere, a Loyalist who returned to England at the beginning of the American Revolution. His lands were later seized by the new American government. The shoreline is shown as "Lechmere's Point" on Revolutionary War maps, and was the landing point for British troops en route to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.[1]

The area was developed by land speculator Andrew Craigie in the early 19th century. Later, a store (Lechmere) was founded in the area and named for it. The store expanded into a regional chain, which was purchased by Montgomery Ward in 1994 and closed in 1997 as Montgomery Ward filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The area is now best known for the CambridgeSide Galleria, one of the few full-fledged interior shopping malls within the city limits of Boston and Cambridge, which is on the site of the original Lechmere store (and, when built, incorporated a newly built Lechmere Sales store as one of its anchor tenants). In years past, Lechmere Square was a manufacturing center producing candy, furniture, and caskets.

Lechmere Square and the surrounding East Cambridge are currently undergoing a revival of sorts. The area's factories have been or are being converted into office buildings and condominiums. Several large-scale development projects were begun in 2004 and 2005. The results of these projects are yet to be seen. It does appear, however, that East Cambridge and Lechmere Square are undergoing a gentrification process similar to what has been seen in other areas of Cambridge.

Lechmere Square is served by the MBTA's Lechmere station. Many MBTA bus lines also stop here. Lechmere is the northern terminus of the Green Line and is an at-grade stop. Service to Lechmere and nearby Science Park was interrupted from June 2004 until November 12, 2005 for replacement of the Causeway Street Elevated with a tunnel under North Station.[2] The historic concrete Lechmere Viaduct across the Charles River remains. Further renovations of the Science Park have caused the MBTA to close the station from April 30th, 2011 until November 2011 and replace the service with a shuttle bus to North Station.[3] Planning is ongoing to move Lechmere station across Monsignor O'Brien Highway, where it will serve the new North Point development and facilitate a Green Line extension to the north.

The Charles River, Lechmere Canal, and Memorial Drive are nearby. Lechmere is also located close to the Museum of Science.

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