Talk:Brattle Street (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

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Merge proposal[edit]

This article has a high degree of overlap with the Old Cambridge Historic District article. Since the district is pretty much listed because of this street – and because of the fact that they are both pretty stubby – I think they should be merged.--Dudemanfellabra (talk) 02:36, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Don't Merge It is easy to tell which structures are on Brattle Street, but impossible to tell which of them are or aren't listed in the Old Cambridge Historic District because its National Register page links to a PDF list that does not exist yet. The Brattle Street article is no longer a stub although it is still a work in progress. There may be many houses on Brattle Street that are notable without being part of the historical monument. There may also be historical structures that are "along" Brattle St. without being ON Brattle St., such as Elmwood, one of the original seven Tory Row mansions, whose address is on Elmwood Ave. betsythedevine (talk) 05:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
It may be harder to tell which properties are in the district, but not impossible. Someone can request a hard copy of the nomination form (which is sometimes a pdf document that they just haven't gotten around to uploading) by following directions at Wikipedia:NRHPHELP#NRHP forms, and the people at the NRHP are pretty friendly.
Regardless, the main point I was trying to make in the proposal is that there will be a high degree of overlap of the two articles (if either is ever fleshed out). Though not all structures on Brattle Street are in the district, a large majority are. If the two articles were merged, only those not in the district would have to be asterisked or distinguished in some other way. If at some point in the future, information about Brattle Street becomes long enough to warrant its own article, it would be ok to split it off from the district article due to WP:SS, but for now I believe the information – which is highly correlated – should all be in one place (of course leaving the street article as a redirect).--Dudemanfellabra (talk) 22:31, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I started this article a few days ago and have already added about 9,000 bytes of useful and relevant information. Nobody has worked on Old Cambridge Historic District since August, 2010. It has fewer than 2,000 bytes of information. There are many articles on streets in Wikipedia, including a nice one for Brattle Street (Boston, Massachusetts). I see zero upside to nuking this article I'm working on and merging it into a different orphaned stubby article. In the case that somebody comes along motivated to dig up the pdf and assess how much overlap there is with Brattle Street, the situation would be different. If on the other hand, you want to merge the 2,000 byte article into the 9,500 byte article, so that fewer bytes need to be re-written, that would make more sense. But I don't think it is hurting Wikipedia to keep both articles until we actually know how much they overlap. betsythedevine (talk) 02:07, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Don't Merge. Agreeing with betsy—this article is bound to grow and fill out nicely—just with additional material from the latest source, the Old Cambridge volume, not to mention other sources. Brattle Street is sufficiently notable to stand on its own. It deserves to be more than just a subset of a wider district. Hertz1888 (talk) 03:49, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
After doing a bit of research (from which I planned to expand the district article), I removed the falsely-added tag marking the Old Cambridge district as a National Historic Landmark. It is in fact only a regular listing on the NRHP. I knew something was fishy when I realized that all NHL documents are already online. Anyway, I got that cleared up, and in the process I also found this pdf that has a lot of good information to add to this street article. I also found this map of Old Cambridge (depicted in purple). It appears that all of Brattle Street east of Fresh Pond Parkway is included in the district, as well as a large chunk of Harvard University.
The NRHP document would have a detailed list of all contributing and non-contributing properties to the district, as well as some information about each house on this street – even if said house doesn't contribute to the historic nature of the district. Even if these two articles are kept separate (though I still think it would better serve a reader to have all the information in one place), that document would be a good tool to expand both of these articles. For now, though, in light of the opposition of the merge proposal, and in light of the fact that the district covers more than just the street itself, I'll remove the tags from each article. I do think, however, that a small summary – perhaps with a {{Main}} link – should be added to the district article so that the street's ties to the district are elaborated on in more than a passing manner with a single link.--Dudemanfellabra (talk) 04:43, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks so much for the useful added sources, Dude, and bringing your thoughts to the merge idea, Hertz. I hope that the information we're adding will benefit Wikipedia wherever it finally ends up. betsythedevine (talk) 04:56, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Work in progress[edit]

As you can see, this article is an ongoing project. One obvious thing missing is the Longfellow House in 18th and 19th centuries. Also, I think maybe Hertz's previous idea of merging Tory Row into this article might work well after all. But that is not at the top of my list for what to do tomorrow. I would like to add more images too, but so far I am just dismal at putting images into articles. Takes me a million tries before they look good. Any artistic people who want to jump in? betsythedevine (talk) 07:29, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

The article could also really use some maps. And one of the first things I plan to do when I get home to Cambridge is to take some color photos of more of the houses. betsythedevine (talk) 05:14, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Length of quotes in references[edit]

I admired and re-used this article's citation format with long quotes inside footnotes, but got advised at Wikipedia_talk:Copyright_problems#Quotes_in_references that long quotes are not ok for stuff out of public domain. Now I see that most of the places this article uses such quotes are very old public-domain publications, so this article is doing it mostly much better than I did. But that is why I am shortening just a few of the quotes in the article. Sharktopustalk 21:53, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Brattle Street must also have been known as "Watertown Path"?[edit]

At the corner of Mason and Garden Streets is one of Cambridge's older style street signs (The ones where it has the city's official seal and also the former name and date of usage of that former road name.) Further down Brattle Street is another one and too and again it says it used to be known as "Watertown Path" in 1630. I haven't been able to find any other source(s) other than these road signs has anyone seen this too? I'm going to try and snap two photos tomorrow.

Question 2. Slightly related, at the corner of Sparks Street and Huron Avenue it that road wasknown as "Town Line"? I'm trying to figure out of what? Could it have meant town line for Huron Village? CaribDigita (talk) 23:30, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

1. The wording on that set of signs is of questionable accuracy, as in many cases it appears to have been reversed or otherwise edited for brevity. You would be on shaky ground treating them as reliable sources. Colonial-era maps are more likely to say, for example, "Path to Watertown", "Road to Menotomy", or "Way to Fresh Pond". An actual example I believe I've seen is "Way to the Great Swamp" becoming "Great Swamp Way" to fit on the sign.
2. Here again, recourse to old maps may be the best source of clarification. The town boundary of Cambridge with Watertown changed radically over time. To my knowledge, "Huron Village" is a modern construct. It was never a separate town. Hertz1888 (talk) 02:22, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Hello Hertz,
Reply to your first point: Good point, I agree, that there could be the possibility of changes in wording just to fit a certain dimension.
Reply to your second point: It has always peaked my curiosity. I don't know what else it could be? Sparks Street lies two streets down from the intersection of Huron and Concord Avenues and runs straight down to Mt. Auburn Street (east of Mt Auburn Hospital).
  • sign photo 2, also just uploaded to Photobucket. This sign is located directly next to the Buckingham Browne & Nichols middle school. CaribDigita (talk) 22:32, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
The maps on pages 14 & 17 of Report Four of the "Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge: Old Cambridge" (Cambridge Historical Commission, 1973)—enjoyable reading, by the way—show the town line with Watertown running along what is now Sparks St., in 1639-40. Another source tells us that this eastern portion of Watertown (its original settlement) was annexed to Cambridge in 1754, with the town line moving to the west of Fresh Pond. The p. 17 map calls the later Brattle St. & Elmwood Ave. route the "Highway to Watertown". Thank you for the photos, but, unfortunately, they reproduce here too darkly for me to read. Hertz1888 (talk) 23:24, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
As always, thanks for your assistance Hertz1888. I've learned quite a bit from W.P. this year. Mt. Auburn Cemetery not really a Cambridge(only) entity, and now my house might actually have been in Watertown at one point. The world is changing as I know it. :-) I guess this makes me an Aqua-bridgian? CaribDigita (talk) 02:33, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Great set of multiple meanings there, would-be Aquarian. A lot of water under the (Cam)bridge since Watertown left the neighborhood. Getting back to editing the article: if you have time for it (which I don't), I think you will find much usable material in that "Old Cambridge" volume, pp. 55-67. Thanks for your contributions, energy & enthusiasm. Hertz1888 (talk) 02:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Speculation of a labrynth/tunnel beneath (at least part of) Brattle Street?[edit]

This morning on my usual commute I cast my mind adrift again. A few times before I've wondered about something which appeared like a fire hydrant without plugs. Upon closer inspection though I reckon it to be an air vent. I started to wonder if there were tunnels between these colonial homes on Brattle Street as parts of Boston's Financial District are. (Think near Old North Church.) Anyway, I looked up and noticed for a relatively light traffic road (in Cambridge) it oddly does have all of its telephone wires underground? I googled "Tunnels Brattle Street" and came up with a blog showing others have speculated of tunnels running below this street (Especially to/from Longfellow House). Has anyone come-across anything more affirmative of there being one or more tunnel(s) below the street? Hertz88? You seem to come across some interesting Cambridge works. I'm hoping maybe you've seen something. There is ofcourse the old abandoned portion of rail tunnel between Harvard (MBTA) Station (under Brattle Square) towards the Charles Hotel. But this vent I took a picture is closer to the 120s on Brattle Street. CaribDigita (talk) 18:02, 25 April 2011 (UTC)