Testimonial to a different, and enduring, Somerville

Somerville has been besmirched. Despite the headline, “Somerville is so hip that it worries itself” (Page A1, April 23), the message I got from the story is that the city had little to offer until a younger generation moved out of Cambridge with the loss of rent control.

Reporter Beth Teitell quotes Dan Zevin, who moved to Somerville in 1984: “all that was [in Davis Square] was Barnaby’s Tap, this old-man alcoholic bar.” After the influx, “Barnaby’s became Redbones,” and slowly Somerville became cool, according to Zevin.

I grew up in Somerville and graduated from Somerville High in the late 1950s. My father, Leo Shubow, was the rabbi of Temple B’nai Brith on Central Street for 31 years. Across the street at the corner of Central and Broadway was a church ministered by the Rev. William T. Howe, my father’s friend and Harvard classmate. They were both active members of this ecumenical, vibrant, and caring city.


Somerville remains a community of hard-working families from different classes and ethnic backgrounds. People who move into Somerville should learn its immigrant, labor, and small-business history as a start, and get to know long-time residents.

Dorothy Shubow Nelson