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Massachusetts Avenue (Boston): Map


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Massachusetts Avenue, known to locals as Mass Ave, is a major thoroughfare in Boston, Massachusettsmarker and several cities and towns northwest of Boston. According to Boston magazine, "Its 16 miles of blacktop run from gritty industrial zones to verdant suburbia, passing gentrified brownstones, college campuses and bustling commercial strips."

The route

The street begins in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchestermarker and runs southeast-northwest through Boston, paralleling Interstate 93 for a short distance and interchanging with the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90). It crosses the Charles River from the Back Baymarker neighborhood of Boston into the city of Cambridgemarker via the Harvard Bridgemarker, where it bisects the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker, passes through Central Squaremarker, and curves around two sides of Harvard Yardmarker at Harvard Squaremarker. After Harvard Square it turns sharply northward, passes Harvard Law Schoolmarker, then passes through Porter Squaremarker, where it bears northwestward. It continues through North Cambridgemarker, Arlingtonmarker, and Lexingtonmarker, where it enters the Minuteman National Historical Parkmarker.

Extended route

The road, by the same name, continues northwest and west, through many different cities and towns. It largely parallels or joins Route 2 and Route 2A, all the way into central Massachusetts, with a few gaps at towns that have different names for the central road.

For much of its length, Massachusetts Avenue is a center of commercial activity, especially through the larger towns. Apartments, shops, and restaurants fill both sides of it, and there is a lot of pedestrian traffic.

Towns on the Massachusetts Avenue route

Notable buildings, institutions, and landmarks along the route


Paul Revere's ride

On the night of April 18-19, 1775, Paul Revere rode his horse down a portion of this road (then known as the Great Road) on his "Midnight Ride." On April 18-19, 1775, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott also rode on portions of this road on their way to Concord. (These travels were on the Cambridge side of the Charles River; the Harvard Bridge was not constructed until the 1880s.)

Later history

Massachusetts Avenue was actually cobbled together at the end of the nineteenth century from what were formerly separate roads. In Bostonmarker the road was previously called East Chester Park south of Chester Square and West Chester Park to the north (Chester Square is in the South Endmarker and is now called Chester Park). Across the river in Cambridgemarker the road follows part of what was once Front Street near the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker and then follows the former Main Street to Harvard Squaremarker (Main Street originally ran between Kendallmarker and Harvard Squares, and the part to the east of Central Square retains the original name). From Harvard Square through Porter Squaremarker it follows what was once North Avenue. In Arlingtonmarker it follows the former Arlington Avenue, and in Lexingtonmarker it follows the former Main Street south of the Battle Green.


  1. Leeds, Jared, The Mass Ave. Project, Boston magazine, November 2007, p.124

External links

History of Mass Ave[129143]

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