Somerville, MA, Oct. 21 – “You have to make it through the first part of the tour to get to the part that’s really cool and more relaxing, and hopefully enjoyable,” said Brandon Wilson, Director of Historic Preservation Commission in Somerville, to the 30 or so people crowded around her on a recent Sunday afternoon.
Wilson and the Commission were hosting an historical tour of the Union Square neighborhood that was so popular, a second had to be scheduled. The idea of the tour was to reach out to people in Somerville and beyond about historical assets of the city, particularly in Union Square, since it will soon undergo a number of changes with the new Green Line stations and other developments.
“We are down on Somerville Avenue, and I should just say that Somerville Avenue was once part of a system of roads called ’Milk Row’, ” explained Ed Gordon, tour guide and director of Museum Program at the Old Schwamb Mill.
Gordon explained to people how “Milk Row” was a highway system that started in Middlesex County and allowed farmers to bring and sell their produce – many of them dairy products – at markets in different cities.
The tour was a combination of the old and the new. Located on Dane Street, Somerville, Greentown Labs provides prototyping, event and office space that’s minutes away from Harvard, MIT and Tufts universities on public transportation to early-stage tech start-ups. It was founded by entrepreneurs and committed to supporting entrepreneurs.
Wilson said she hopes to convert the enthusiasm she saw for the tour into enthusiasm for protection of the older parts of Union Square.