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Harvard Yard

From Academic Kids

Harvard Yard is a grassy area of about 25 acres (10 hectares), adjacent to Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which constitutes the oldest part and the center of the campus of Harvard University. It contains thirteen of Harvard College's seventeen freshman dormitories, as well as three libraries, five buildings of classrooms and academic departments, and the central administrative offices of the university, located in University Hall and Massachusetts Hall.

The western third of Harvard Yard is known as the Old Yard, and around it cluster most of the freshman dormitories. Among these is Massachusetts Hall, which, having been constructed in 1720, is the oldest still-standing building on Harvard's campus and oldest academic building in the United States. (Sometimes Wren Hall at College of William and Mary is cited as the oldest; however, it was rebuilt in several times after fire, the latest reconstruction occurring in 1865.) The lower floors of Massachusetts Hall house the offices of the President of Harvard University.

Across the Old Yard from Massachusetts Hall stands University Hall, and the now-famous "statue of three lies" of John Harvard. University Hall was the site of the now-famous sit-in and teach-in protests during the late 1960s, while Massachusetts Hall was the site of the more recent 2001 living-wage campaign sit-in. The statue earned its nickname from its inscription, "John Harvard, Founder, 1638". In truth, the statue is not modelled after John Harvard, Mr. Harvard did not found the university, and the founding was in 1636.

The center of Harvard Yard is a wide grassy area known as Tercentenary Theater, framed by the monumental Widener Library and Memorial Church. Harvard's annual commencement exercises, as well as occasional special convocations, take place in Tercentenary Theater.

Harvard Yard is featured in a famous sentence that is used to illustrate that the Boston accent is non-rhotic (i.e., the sound r is dropped before consonants): "Park the car in Harvard Yard." However, motorists are not allowed to park in Harvard Yard, except for services at Memorial Church, and during move-in-day for freshman living in Harvard Yard.

The freshman dormitories of Harvard Yard include the upper levels of Massachuetts Hall, and Wigglesworth Hall, Weld Hall, Grays Hall, Matthews Hall, Strauss Hall, Mower Hall, Hollis Hall, Stoughton Hall, Lionel Hall, Hollworthy Hall, Canaday Hall, and Thayer Hall.

Nestled among Mower, Hollis, Lionel, and Stoughton halls is the Holden Chapel, home of the Holden Choirs. Also in this section of the yard stands the Phillips Brooks House, home of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), Harvard University's center for service activities.

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