Walking Boston – Harvard Square to WardMaps

After my Harvard student-led tour and a quick break at Pinocchio’s Pizza, I made my way north from Harvard Square along Massachusetts Avenue.  I passed by the Cambridge’s Old Burying Ground, Cambridge Common, and some of the other Harvard University buildings along Mass Ave.

Once I had walked north out of Harvard Square, the traffic was thinner and there were much less people walking.  Mass Ave at this point is fairly wide, but not extremely busy.  It was easy for me to jaywalk back and forth across the road to see different storefronts and take different photos.  This stretch of Mass Ave between Harvard Square and Porter Square had some four-storey and six-storey apartment buildings and short one-storey buildings with small businesses on either side.

My destination for this walk up Mass Ave is not a typical tourist destination.  I am both a map and transit geek.  So my destination was 1735 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.  It’s a shop that helped to satisfy both of my geek interests in one stop.  WardMaps LLC offers authentic antique maps, quality reproduction maps, cartographic and transit themed gifts, and vintage transit memorabilia.

It’s a small store, but it’s filled with reproduction maps to drool over.  I must have spent somewhere between half-an-hour to an hour in the store just perusing.  The maps are filed in boxes the way back issue comics are kept in comic book stores.  My wife and I try to collect Paris themed decor, so it was only natural to buy a Paris map.  I bought an 11″ x 18″reproduction of an 1834 Paris map originally created by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, or SDUK, in London.  I just love to say the name of the Society.

And since I was in Boston, I had to get a Boston map.  There were obviously quite a few Boston maps available since I was in the Boston area.  I ended up getting an 8.5″ x 11″ reproduction of an atlas map.  It shows Boston from 1909 and orients the city with east on top and north on the left.  That’s not the usual way to display Boston on a map.  It gives a different view on how to look at the Boston peninsula.

Plus, I wanted some transit related memorabilia, but there were no train models available.  So I settled on some highly functional coasters.  One was a photo of the Red Line tracks and the other was a Green Line car.  I also ended up buying coasters with an antique Boston map and a Fenway Park photo of directions to the Green Monster Seats.


I was very happy with my purchases, even though the coasters were $5 each.  I thought they were pretty unique and I have been using them a lot since I’ve gotten back home.  I particularly like the Boston 1809 map coaster.  If you compare it to how Boston looks in the 1909 map above, the city has grown so much and filled in so much land to accommodate that growth.

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