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Massachusetts Hall

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1718–1720. Harvard Yard.
  • Massachusetts Hall (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Dr. Meral Ekincioglu)
  • (Dr. Meral Ekincioglu)
  • (Dr. Meral Ekincioglu)
  • (Dr. Meral Ekincioglu)
  • (Dr. Meral Ekincioglu)

Harvard's earliest surviving building, Massachusetts Hall originally framed one side of a U-shaped space, evoking the courtyards of Oxford and Cambridge and facing the street and the Cambridge Common, rather than the then shabby yard with its accessory structures to the rear. Massachusetts Hall is a simple early Georgian design, balanced and restrained. The three-and-a-half story gambrel-roofed red brick building retains the paired end chimneys, dormers, and brick water table of its original construction. The hoods over its entranceways are long gone, and the interior was completely rebuilt after a fire in 1924. A replica of the eighteenth-century clock covers the original clock face on the west end. Massachusetts Hall served as a model for Yale President Thomas Clap when he designed Connecticut Hall, a new dormitory, for his campus between 1750 and 1752.

Writing Credits

Maureen Meister


What's Nearby


Maureen Meister, "Massachusetts Hall", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 316-316.

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