Cambridge was first settled in 1630, and incorporated in 1636. It was initially known as Newtowne, and most settlers lived near what is now Harvard Square. It was here that Newe College was formed in 1636, which would later be renamed to Harvard College. The town was renamed to Cambridge in 1638, in honor of the center of learning in Cambridge, England.
The city grew rapidly, with agriculture giving way to industry and residential areas. Cambridge became a city in 1846, and Central Square rose to prominence as the commercial center of the city. Cambridge was one of the major industrial cities of Massachusetts and New England, with the New England Glass Company being the largest employer for many years. Though it began to lose its industrial roots after World War II, it rose to prominence as one of the foremost centers of higher learning in the world.
Industry and Economy
Cambridge has undergone a number of changes throughout its history, but it has always been a place for industry and innovation. Kendall Square, home of MIT, is referred to as the “most innovative square mile on the planet”, with MIT, start-ups, and other businesses all located in close proximity.
Cambridge has seen many businesses in its history including:
- New England Glass Company
- Carter’s Ink Company
- Atheneum Press
- Kennedy Biscuit Factory (originator of the Fig Newton)
- Kendall Confectionary Company
- Blake and Knowles Steam Pump Company
Through these and other companies that have called Cambridge home, the city has contributed products, technology, confections, and more to the world. Today, many of the companies in the city are related to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, as well as technology.