Cambridge, MA – May 7th, 2012 – Cambridge Historical Tours is proud to announce its first season giving Costumed Historical Walking Tours of Harvard Square. “How can there be no one doing this yet?’” is what people keep asking us,” say company Founders Daniel Berger-Jones and Chris Schultz. Now there is. Beginning June 2nd, tours will leave six times daily from 11:00am-4:00pm. (In May, tours run three times daily at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm).
Gathering at the Harvard T stop, the 90-minute tour winds through nearly 400 years of history in Cambridge. With the first stop in the Old Market Square (now Winthrop Square in front of Peet’s Coffee), the stories wind through the Puritan founders, then wander towards the Revolution at the John Hicks House. After stories by the Charles River Residences, guests are privied to the prank war between the Harvard Lampoon and the Harvard Crimson. Harvard Yard, the nation’s oldest Collegiate campus, comes next, followed by the Old Cambridge Burial Ground, and the Birthplace of the American Army, Cambridge Common. For true History Buffs, the Full Two Hour Tour finishes in the beautiful garden of the Longfellow House/Washington Headquarters site.
The tour’s charm comes from the Victorian clothing and characters based on real people from history. “I play Frank Stanley, inventor of the Steam Car,” says company cofounder Chris Schultz. “I used to vex the neighbors by driving on city roads at breakneck speeds of up to twenty-seven miles per hour!”
With jokes and stories that range from hilariously bizarre to tragic, the tour is a lively way to educate. “Our goal is to make you wonder why all history is not taught this way,” says Berger-Jones. “You get to see what you’re learning about, and hear the story from someone who will explain it like it happened the other day. It may be real and accurate history, but this is not your seventh grade history lecture. Unless you loved your seventh grade history lecture, in which case, this is EXACTLY like your seventh grade history lecture.”
Schultz and Berger-Jones, both one-time tour guides at Boston’s Freedom Trail Foundation, felt there were too many stories going untold in Cambridge. The tour is designed to appeal to the local crowd just as much as a tourist. The goal, they say, is to create a back-story for all of the things normal Cantabrigians walk by every day without a second glance. When it comes to buildings and public spaces in Cambridge, there is more than meets the eye. The secrets are in the stories that lie behind them. “We are providing entertainment for the curious-minded, local or tourist. Every wall, rock, and square foot of ground has a story to tell. We devour the best stories in history like sponges, and then fire them back out to the public with contagiously enthusiastic joy. And we tell it right where it happened.”