The Ugliest House in Cambridge

Okay, it’s deep winter. The snow has turned crusty and brown. The sky is grey. The ice is black. We need a bit of color and light.

Sorry folks, all I have to offer is the ugliest house in Cambridge.

For some time there was debate. Was the ugliest house in Cambridge the triplex on the corner of Sherman Street whose spindly front baloneys hang over the too-steep driveway? Or was it the cottage in East Cambridge that some fledging architect sheathed in asphalt diamond shingles circa 1952? Until, a few years ago, a universally declaimed winner emerged on a most unlikely parcel.

After World War II, the City of Cambridge carved a string of lots along Grove Street, on the Belmont line, ostensibly for returning Vets. The suburbanish lots with golf course and Boston skyline views became immediately desirable. Seventy years later, the mid-century ranches are being replaced, one after another, with trophy houses. Except this one. A few years ago, someone with no taste and a paltry budget took a sizable house and expanded in the ugliest possible way.

I can’t tell if it’s a single family of multi-family house. I never see anyone come or go. I sometimes see a van in the parking-lot sized driveway. Rumor has it the structure is owned by a Chinese company that houses visiting staff there. I’m not interested in verifying the truth, since that rumor suits me just fine.

And what’s with the garage door to nowhere? Happy winter!

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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