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Harvard Housing Profiles


Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was positively superb, so I could not possibly be in a better mood as I write this blog post. I decided that for today I’d write a profile on each of the housing neighborhoods, featuring one of the houses/dorms in the neighborhood/yard. House life is such an important part of the Harvard experience, so I’ve been wanting to write something explaining how great it is, and repping CHaus (Currier House) for a while now!

Here’s the breakdown of Harvard freshman dorm yards:

Crimson Yard: Greenough, Hurlbut, Pennypacker, Wigglesworth

Elm Yard: Grays, Matthews, Weld

Ivy Yard: Apley, Hollis, Holworthy, Lionel, Massachusetts Hall, Mower, Stoughton, Straus

Oak Yard: Canaday, Thayer

And upperclass housing neighborhoods:

River East: Dunster, Leverett, Mather

River Central: Adams, Lowell, Quincy

River West: Eliot, Kirkland, Winthrop

Quad: Cabot, Currier, Pforzheimer

I’ll write a little something about one dorm from each yard and one house from each neighborhood so you can get to know Harvard housing a little better!

First, Pennypacker! This was where I lived freshman year, so it was a clear choice. The Pack, as we fondly refer to it, was built in 1959 and was originally an apartment building, so all the rooms surround one large stairway, and we have about 22 people per floor. Having only one entrance to the building meant that by the end of the year I knew most of the people in the Pack pretty well and definitely recognized all their faces–it felt like such a small, nice community even though there were about 100 of us! My room was a quad with two doubles, a common room, and an in-suite bathroom, which is pretty typical of the building.

Pack love!

Grays! One of my good friends lived here last year, so I spent a good deal of time inside this building. Grays is known for having some of the nicest housing on the whole campus, so we sometimes call it the Harvard Hilton. It’s known for gorgeous hardwood floors, spacious living, large windows, and it’s excellent location facing Harvard Yard. It was built in 1863 and has housed people like Natalie Portman and Frank Rich. Grays is also home to about 100 freshman a year.

The Harvard Hilton

Massachusetts (Mass) Hall! Mass Hall is one of the most interesting dorms on campus, because of its history and significance aside from being a dorm. It was built sometime between 1718-1720 and is the oldest building on all of Harvard’s campus, which is probably why in addition to housing 14 freshman every year, Harvard President Drew Faust’s office is in Mass Hall!

Crazy to think how much history this building has seen...

Thayer! Thayer Hall is one of the older (1870) and best located freshman dorms–it sits with a great view of the yard, but also incredibly close to most classroom buildings; the Science Center; and Annenberg, the freshman-only dining hall. People in Thayer generally live in doubles and triples off hallways, so they get to be close to their neighbors very quickly! Thayer also has a common room with a huge TV, pool table, white boards, foosball table, and more.

You can't see it, but the John Harvard statue is right to the right of this building

Onto houses–first, Mather! Matherites are known for their insane house pride, whether that comes from being the only house to guarantee singles for life; living in the “concrete jungle,” as they call it; or something else. Their color is red and they somehow have both a lion and a gorilla as their mascot. Located right by the river, Mather residents have great views from both their dining hall and their rooms, plus an incredibly short walk over to the river when they want to visit it.

Mather library. This is pretty typical internal architecture in Mather

Lowell! I’m living in Lowell House this summer so I can personally tell you it has one of the most beautiful courtyards in all of Harvard. When it’s nice out people hang out in the courtyard and chat, work, etc. Lowell is known for its famous housemasters–Diana Eck and Dorothy Austin. They throw Lowell Tea every Thursday, which is a huge part of Lowell life, and legendary throughout the campus. Lowell also holds a bell tower with a bell that chimes daily, and sometimes even plays recognizable pop tunes.

Lowell's gorgeous courtyard

Eliot! Eliot residents are known for being very proud of their “domus,” as they call it. The only house to have three formals a year rather than two, Eliot residents love to class it up, and  also have great relationships with their housemasters, Gail O’Keefe and Doug Melton. The pair are known for eating every meal in the dining hall so students can approach them at any time for any reason. You’d be hard-pressed to find an Eliot resident who’s not proud of their home!

Eliot's dining hall all dressed up for Thanksgiving festivities

Finally, Currier, the best house in all of Harvard! (And, on and entirely unrelated note, my future home.) Currier has a reputation for its homey dining hall, excellent food (best dining hall on campus), and connected towers so you never have to go outside to get somewhere else in the house. Our house mascot is the tree, and our house motto is “timete arborum, amate domum” or “fear the tree, love the house.” I can’t wait to move in this fall and join a community known for being so homey, relaxed, and welcoming. It would be a lie, however, to say I’m not equally excited to start working toward my goal of cooking in each of Currier’s 52 kitchens.

Currier boasts proximity to the gorgeous quad lawn, along with the two other Quad houses

If anyone has other questions about Harvard housing I’d love to answer them–just hit the comments section!

Comments (2)

on April 27, 2018 am30 02:17

loved the photos. i watched ‘the social network’ last weekend and was curious to see where it all started. great looking school.

on April 27, 2018 am30 02:17

Beautiful environment, it must be very nice to live in such dormitories. Thanks for writing about this

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