Boston… day 2 (part 1): Harvard

Today we set off to Harvard, via Starbucks for breakfast.  We have found everyone in Boston to continue the helpful trend, really chatty and just nice people, but not in an annoying know it all way like Canadians (sorry ;)) can be sometimes. 

We found a free one hour tour at the information office and set off in a group of around 40 people.  The tour guide was a student at Harvard and full of fun facts.  I didnt realise that you could study other stuff, I thought it was just law.  I am now full of fun facts about Harvard… it costs $65,000 a year to go (though the guy said there are loads of grants and help with this) and only 5% of applicants offered get a place, Mark Zukerburg and Bill Gates are Harvard drop outs.


No films are actually filmed at Harvard.  In 1970, a film snubbed Harvard students by hiring extras to walk around in fancy clothes because the students wear normal clothes and it didnt fit with their idea of Harvard.  Harvard put a blanket ban on filming and no films have used the campus since.

There is a chap called John Harvard (English) who donated a huge collection of books and money to the University when he died, and they changed its name to Harvard.  Students were not allowed to take these books from the library, however, one night a student did.  He accidentally left a candle burning when he left the library and burnt it to the ground.  He confessed and gave back the one remaining book – The Christian Warfare against the Devil World and  Flesh – before being expelled.  Years later, they wanted to do a statue of Mr Harvard.  As all pictures of him had burned in the fire, they didnt know what he looked like.  The tour guide said that one speculation of who the statue is actually of is a chap called Leonard Hoar or a descendant of his.  He was an early president who did not have a campus house named after him as they didnt want to name it Hoar House.  Whoever he is, his feet are gold and it is supposed to make you clever if you rub his feet. 

One of the Presidents that did get a house named after him was President Massachusetts.  This house had its own interesting story…. the US Army rented the campus many years ago (1775) and the troops staying there took the door knobs and similar furnishings to make ammunition.  Harvard sued the Government and won.  

The last building that particularly fascinated me was the library.  I was disappointed that we were not allowed in though.  The library is huge, but also extends four storeys underground and a vast distance under the gardens.  This is because they needed to expand but the donator of the money to build it stipulated that no exterior modifications could be made, or the building would become the property of the state.  The lady who donated the money for the library did so in memory of her son who died in the Titanic when bringing a big collection of books back from Europe to Harvard.  He was in a life boat with his family (because they were rich) and he went back to try and save his favourite books, never to be seen again.

We walked a lot more, around the shops, Harvard grounds and some more and the area. We found an old athletic stadium that looked closed off at first, but we found an open gate and went and sat inside.  It was gorgeous in the sun.

Back to the hotel with my feet and ankle very unhappy with me.  An hour to shower and get ready for the Jays game!

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