In the spring of 1996, owner Rachael Solem and her partners found the house at 288-290 Harvard Street in a state of disrepair. Built in 1867, it still had good bones, a wonderful location and lots of possibilities. Rachael knew that this house could become a central place of beauty and welcome in mid-Cambridge.
Rachael thought it important to celebrate the historical character of the house, so she researched its history. She found that Isaac Harding, a grocer operating in Central Square had commissioned the two-family structure for himself and his daughter. She decided to name the new guesthouse in his honor.
In the process of a full renovation, pieces of the original crown molding and some door and window trim was found in the basement. These were taken as examples to make all of the detailing around the house. The front door was created anew after observing neighboring houses’ doorways, and taking the spare front door from Irving House (which, coincidentally, was also built as a two-family house, in 1893, by an enterprising grocer.). Though the door is of a different era, thirty years younger than Harding House, its size and style work for this purpose. The stained glass around the door was commissioned, inspired by neighboring house designs.
Harding House opened in the fall of 1997 and has been a warm, inviting ‘home away from home’ for thousands of travelers from across the globe. We look forward to welcoming you next!