Cambridge Historical Commission
City of Cambridge City offices will be closed to the public beginning at 5:00pm on Monday March 16th, until further notice. Until further notice, CHC staff will be working remotely. We are committed to providing service to the public to the best of our ability during this time. For inquiries, please email email@example.com. For more information, please visit the City’s designated COVID-19 website. For a consolidated list of our online research resources and other helpful resources you can access from home, visit this link.
Public Meetings Alert:
At this time the City of Cambridge (“City”) will not be holding any non-essential public meetings due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the City Manager’s closure of all City buildings to non-essential business. On April 3, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020, An Act to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19 (“Act”), which extends all permitting deadlines for permits issued by City multi-member boards and commissions until after the State of Emergency is lifted. In light of the extensions provided for in the Act and the closure of City buildings, at this time the City’s boards and commissions will be rescheduling all public hearings in accordance with the extensions permitted under the Act. Applicants will receive notice of the new date once the hearing is rescheduled, and notice will be sent to any necessary parties, advertised and posted, as required by applicable laws.
Additionally, while the State of Emergency is in effect, applications for permits issued by City multi-member boards and commissions may be filed by e-mail to the City Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org. All application fees should be submitted to the applicable board or commission by mail. (Note that the Cambridge Historical Commission and Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions do not have application fees).
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.
Mission & Services
The Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) is the city's historic preservation agency. Established in 1963, the CHC seeks to preserve the integrity and diversity of Cambridge's built environment and to disseminate information about its history. The CHC protects designated properties throughout the city; preserves the integrity of Cambridge's many significant buildings through the administration of CPA-funded preservation grants; and honors local projects with Preservation Awards. The CHC advises private and commercial owners, institutions, and public agencies on historic preservation issues ,and participates in reviews of state and federal projects that impact historic resources.
Archives & Research
Explore our archival collections
The CHC maintains a public archive on the city's history. The collection focuses on the city's architectural and social history and contains information on all 13,000+ Cambridge buildings; it also includes thousands of historic photographs and maps as well as information on many individuals and organizations. Research aids are available online for many collections and photos are shared on the CHC's Flickr page. The CHC provides learning opportunities to residents of all ages through its publications, history talks, walking tours, historic site markers, and the website. A new online catalog of books and pamphlets in our library is available here.