Harvard University is the nation’s oldest institution of higher education and dates its creation to 1636, when it was founded by a group of well-educated Puritan leaders. Despite being a large, prestigious university with a campus that sprawls over 400 buildings, the historic Harvard Yard remains the university’s core. The beautiful campus is filled with classic buildings and tree-filled lawns. A walk through Harvard Yard is a definite must when visiting Cambridge.
Several highlights of a walk through Harvard Yard include Massachusetts Hall, the university’s oldest building, which was constructed in 1720. You’ll also notice the many ornate iron gates that allow access to the campus from the surrounding streets. Other notable structures are Hollis Hall, where George Washington housed his troops during the Revolution; Charles Bulfinch’s University Hall (1816); Holden Chapel (1742), a site of Revolutionary speeches and later human dissections; and Server Hall, one of the university’s most unique structures. Also be sure to look for the John Harvard Statue, which has been nicknamed the "Statue of Three Lies." The inscription on the statue reads "John Harvard, Founder, 1638." The truth is that John Harvard did not found the university; it was founded by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. And the year was not 1638, it was 1636. However, John Harvard did bequeath half of estate and all of his books to the fledgling university upon his death in 1638 (at this time, the university was renamed in his memory). Finally, the statue is not of John Harvard, as no image of the man existed for the sculptor to use as a model. One other important stop on a walk through Harvard Square is the enormous Widener Library, named in memory of Harry Elkins Widener, who died on the Titanic in 1912. The Widener Library houses the nation’s third largest single collection of books and is the hub of the nation’s largest library system.
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District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
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