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NASA, JFK, and Proto’s Brand-New Apartments: Yes, They Do Have Something in Common

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In the heart of Kendall Square, Proto’s brand-new apartments celebrate the area’s storied past, while pioneering the lifestyle frontier.

There’s an intriguing nod to history in one of Proto’s common spaces. If you take a tour of our brand-new apartments, you’ll see it for yourself: an embroidered carpet depicting — of all things — John F. Kennedy’s speech announcing the goal of a Moon landing.  

What’s a reference to the audacious goal of landing the first humans on the Moon doing on a carpet of these brand-new apartments in Kendall Square? Read on to find out how the past turned this vibrant neighborhood into an epicenter of innovation — and the home of Proto.  

Early days 

Back in the early 1700s, the area that’s now Kendall Square was not much more than a salt marsh on the Charles River, between Boston and Cambridge. But in 1793, the construction of the West Boston Bridge changed the fortunes of this unassuming piece of land. Suddenly, it became an important transportation link as the bridge provided the first direct wagon route between Boston and Cambridge.  

The Industrial Era 

Fast forward to the mid-19th century when the Industrial Revolution began to reshape the United States. What had been nothing but marshland was now an East Coast industrial hub of distilleries, electric power plants, candy factories, soap and hosiery factories, as well as the Kendall Boiler and Tank Co. (Kendall Square takes its name from factory owner Edward Kendall.) 

By the beginning of the 20th century, the newly named Kendall Square was thriving. The arrival of Longfellow Bridge brought provisions for a rapid transit link that became the Red Line, which includes Kendall Square station just steps from Proto’s brand-new apartments. 

Space Race 

By the middle of the 20th century, Kendall Square was already a center of innovation, fueled by the expansion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into the area. When President John F. Kennedy boldly declared that the United States would be the first nation on the Moon, he put plans into motion to make Kendall Square the headquarters for the NASA Mission Control Center.  

President Kennedy, one of Boston’s best-known natives, planned to remove the area’s older industrial manufacturing plants by eminent domain to make room for NASA’s headquarters. But Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 changed everything. With President Lyndon B. Johnson in charge, NASA went to Houston instead. 

New Generation of Innovators 

Today, despite the mid-century loss of NASA, Kendall Square is flourishing as a new generation of innovators has moved into the neighborhood, from tech startups to giants like Biogen and Google. Home to restaurants, bars, farmers markets, and a pioneering spirit, this little piece of salt marsh is the ideal location for Proto’s brand-new apartments. 

Come take a tour.  

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