Massachusetts Hall (1718)

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Harvard College was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The oldest surviving building on the Harvard campus is Massachusetts Hall, located in Harvard Yard in Cambridge and built between 1718 and 1720. It was designed by the successive Harvard Presidents John Leverett and Benjamin Wadsworth. Originally a dorm, it housed many famous students during the colonial period, including John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry and James Otis. In 1722, when Thomas Hollis donated a quadrant and telescope, Massachusetts Hall also became the location of an informal observatory. During the Revolutionary War, the building was occupied by soldiers of the Continental Army. It has served many uses over the years, currently being the offices of the President of Harvard University and other administrators, who may soon take over the remaining areas of the building currently used as dormitory space. Please take a look at today’s companion post, about Yale’s Connecticut Hall, at Historic Buildings of Connecticut.

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6 Responses to Massachusetts Hall (1718)

  1. Pingback: Historic Buildings of Connecticut » Blog Archive » Connecticut Hall (1750)

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  4. Vera Chase says:

    I am a Writer, and Historian, specializing in Early American and Bahamian.
    History books have documented the name William Sayle in association with the early years of Boston and Harvard University. Can you confirm from your records that in 1650, William Sayle and the Early Settlers of ‘Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas sent a cargo of ten (10) tons of “Braziletto”wood to Boston which was sold for 124.00 pounds and the proceeds given to Harvard College “Could this have been the funds to build Massachusetts Hall ?

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