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The Kendall: A Historic Hotel that Feels Like Home

By S. Mathur

The Kendall is a boutique hotel located in a restored 19th century building in the heart of Cambridge. Holding its own among the high rises that now line Kendall Square, it was originally built as Firehouse 7, one of the earliest purpose-built fire stations. It actually served as a fire station for almost a hundred years, until 1993. In 1999, the husband and wife team of artist Charlotte Forsythe and developer Gerald Fandetti bought the building and restored it, carefully preserving the landmark cupolas.

The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel opened its doors in 2002 and quickly became a favorite with locals and travelers alike, says General Manager Brenda Anderson: "The Kendall is the only family owned hotel in Kendall Square and offers a very homey feel. Our guests appreciate coming to the hotel as it is so different to the more modern and industrial feel of buildings in the area. When they enter the Kendall, they feel as they are coming home and not going to a hotel."

The majority of visitors are business travelers, tourists and parents visiting their offspring in schools in the area, especially at nearby MIT. Anderson and the hotel staff work hard to maintain a homelike atmosphere: "I do enjoy meeting our guests and getting first hand feedback about their experience with us," says Anderson. "The Kendall relishes the fact that we provide an experience that is unique."

The Kendall Square area has been home to innovations for over a century, from the late-19th century days of the industrial revolution to its contemporary reinvention as a high-tech hub. This vibrant intellectual and cultural life gives Kendall Square and the Hotel its special feel, says Anderson: "The people. The people in Kendall Square are amazing. The conversations are lively, people check their egos and enjoy the thriving area and all it has to offer. I live in Houston, Texas and feel like I am coming home each and every time I enter Kendall Square."

Engine Company 7 is remembered throughout the Hotel in the decor, artwork and the Black Sheep Restaurant. Named for the "motley crew" of Engine 7, the restaurant serves classic American food with contemporary touches, and includes a "breakfast fit for a fireman." The Hotel also boasts a fine collection of American art by leading area artists.

People watching is an especially rewarding pastime at the Kendall, says Anderson: "The Kendall has all sorts of people I would put on a pedestal and whom I would call famous, just on a different level - they are not in movies but make tremendous contributions to our environment, economy, politics, health and the list goes on. These are the sort of famous people that make Kendall Square a very unique place to be."

The Kendall Hotel is located at 350 Main Street in Cambridge, MA.

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