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A Kendall Square timeline

A look at some important dates in the history of Kendall Square.

1912 Kendall Square T station opens.

1916 MIT relocates from Boston to Cambridge.

1964 NASA establishes an Electronics Research Center in Cambridge to develop
technologies for spacecraft guidance, control, communications, and information display.

1966 NASA begins buying land in Cambridge, eventually totaling about 15 acres, to build a campus for the new center. The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority clears the land, relocating about 100 businesses, razing 50 buildings, and filling in part of the Broad Canal. NASA’s research center grows to employ 850 people.

1969 President Nixon announces closure of the Electronics Research Center, among other budget cuts at NASA. Only six of 14 planned buildings had been erected.


1970 The Department of Transportation takes over the former NASA facilities, creating a research center now known as the Volpe Center. John Volpe was a former Massachusetts governor who ran the DOT at the time.

1981 Boston Properties begins building the Cambridge Center complex, which today houses companies like Google, VMware, Akamai Technologies, Biogen Idec, and Microsoft.

1999 Cambridge Innovation Center (originally known as Cambridge Incubator) is founded. Today, the building at One Broadway purports to house more startups than any other building on Earth.

2009 The nonprofit Kendall Square Association is formed to promote and improve the neighborhood.

2012 More than 2 million square feet of new lab and research buildings are under construction in Kendall, mainly for life-sciences companies.

2013 The City of Cambridge’s planning department releases the so-called K2 Report, suggesting new uses, including housing and a park, for some of the Volpe Center’s underutilized land.