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
Walden Street Cattle Pass is located in the US
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
MPS Cambridge MRA
NRHP reference # 94000554[1]
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 discussed creation of a vantage point for viewing the tunnel, ca. 2008, but no action was taken.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Walden Street Bridge, Cambridge Department of Public Works Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  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. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 


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