Walden Street Cattle Pass

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Walden Street Cattle Pass
Walden Street Cattle Pass, Cambridge, MA 05.jpg
Usually nearly concealed under the Walden Street Bridge, the tunnel is seen here exposed during 2007-08 bridge reconstruction work.
Walden Street Cattle Pass is located in Massachusetts
Walden Street Cattle Pass
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°23′21.9″N 71°7′28.8″W / 42.389417°N 71.124667°W / 42.389417; -71.124667Coordinates: 42°23′21.9″N 71°7′28.8″W / 42.389417°N 71.124667°W / 42.389417; -71.124667
Built 1857
Architect Unknown
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body State
MPS Cambridge MRA
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP June 3, 1994

The Walden Street Cattle Pass, also referred to as the cow path,[2] is an historic site adjacent to the MBTA Commuter Rail Fitchburg Line right-of-way, under the Walden Street Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

The site, a tunnel for moving cattle between the railroad and the nearby stockyards of the 19th century, was built in 1857. The cattle yards were closed in 1868[3] or "about 1871",[4] but the cattle trade continued; "until the 1920s, cows were unloaded here and driven down Massachusetts Avenue, through Harvard Square, and across the river to the Brighton Abattoir".[4]

Restoration (re-pointing) of the tunnel's brickwork was carried out during the 2007-08 replacement of the second-generation bridge dating from 1914.[2][5] The third-generation bridge opened for traffic in December 2008. The Cambridge City Council has discussed creation of a vantage point for viewing the tunnel.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b Walden Street Bridge, Cambridge Department of Public Works
  3. ^ Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge: Northwest Cambridge, 1977, ISBN 0-262-53032-5, Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge, Mass., p. 42
  4. ^ a b "Cambridge Cattle Market", in Cambridge Historical Commission-North Cambridge Stabilization Committee report, 2002
  5. ^ Yelton, Rick. "Bridging the Gap: Passing on tradition". Masonry Construction Magazine. pp. 2 & 3. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 


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