HSB41: Inventing New England title
Inventing Harvard title Harvard Hall close window button
Conjectural drawing of the first Harvard Hall, done in the 1930s by HR Shurtleff. The drawing is highly romanticized and probably not a good interpretation of what the building might have looked like.
Conjectural drawing of the first Harvard Hall, done in the 1930s.

The First Harvard Hall
Date Built: 1638
Architect: Samuel Eliot Morison believed the architect was one John Wilson, a Boston clergyman who had studied at Cambridge University. Wilson probably wanted the new college in a new Cambridge to look like its English counterpart.
Style: Since there are no period images of the first Harvard Hall, it is difficult to determine its style, but it was most likely a blend of medieval and Renaissance styles, with no regular symnetry or window patterns.
Renovations Years: The building collapsed before it could ever be renovated.
Demolition Year: The first Harvard Hall collapsed in 1679, probably because of a highly destructive termite infestation.
Stories: The first Harvard Hall's construction costs totaled over one thousand pounds--and incredible expense in a colony that had existed for only twelve years. In 1651 Edward Johnson noted that "The scituation of this Coledg is very pleasant, at the end of a spacious plain, more like a bowling green than a Wilderness, neer a fair navigable river, environed with many Neighboring Towns of note...The building [is] thought by some to be too gorgeous for a Wilderness, and yet too mean in other apprehensions for a Colledg. It is at present inlarging by purchase of the neighboring houses. It hath the conveniences of a fair hall, comfortable studies, and a good Library."

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