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.
First Harvard Hall
||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.
||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.
collapsed before it could ever be renovated.
||The first Harvard
Hall collapsed in 1679, probably because of a highly destructive termite
||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."