Apley Court, built in 1897 and home to 30 first-year students, boasts some of the most superb accommodations on campus. Once home to T.S. Eliot, who allegedly hid poems in the walls, Apley has a marble staircase, hardwood floors, high ceilings, and in-suite bathrooms. Accommodations in Apley – which consist of singles, doubles, and triples – more than compensate for its short distance from Harvard Yard. Located in the heart of the Square, Apley is nestled among great food options such as Insomnia Cookies, El Jefe's Taqueria, and Tasty Burger. Apley is also one of the smallest first-year dorms, and as such often fosters “the best sense of community of any dorm.”
Built in 1763, Hollis is one of the oldest buildings at Harvard College. Famous residents include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Jim Cramer. Currently home to 60 first-year students, Hollis also hosted General George Washington’s troops during the American War for Independence. Boasting spacious, wood-paneled, single-room doubles with common bathrooms, Hollis is divided into two vertical entryways, making the community very tight-knit. Thanks to its position in the heart of Harvard Yard and proximity to Harvard Square, one past resident remarked that Hollis is “in the middle of it all” – true given that it is a three-minute walk from classes in Sever, Robinson, and Emerson Halls, as well as the Science Center and Annenberg.
Holworthy, built in 1812, is named after Sir Matthew Holworthy, who gave 1,000 Pounds Sterling to Harvard in 1678. Famous residents include Horatio Alger and Conan O’ Brian. Now home to 84 first-year students and divided into three vertical entryways, Holworthy is composed of quads with two bedrooms and a common room, with a shared bathroom with the suite next door. This arrangement creates a strong community across each floor. The First-Year Arts Room is located in the Holworthy basement, a great place to relax and utilize a variety of arts and crafts suppiles. Holworthy also boasts a convenient location, with its sweeping view of Harvard Yard and close proximity to Annenberg Dining Hall and the Science Center. Holworthy is also right on the University Plaza, which hosts a weekly Farmer's Market as well as pop-up concerts, food trucks, and lawn games.
Lionel, located in Harvard Yard, is a small dorm consisting of two vertical entryways and is home to 35 students, making the community very tight knit. A memorial to Lionel de Jersey, the only relative of John Harvard to attend Harvard, Lionel is a quaint setting with fantastic suites of triplets and quads, all of which have in-suite bathrooms. Lionel is very conveniently located in Harvard Yard, accessible to classrooms in the Science Center, Annenberg Dining Hall, and Harvard Square shops such as CVS, OTTO Pizza, and Border Cafe. Lionel also shares its own courtyard with Mower, which offers some peaceful seclusion from the rest of Harvard Yard.
Massachusetts Hall, known colloquially as “Mass Hall,” is the Yard’s smallest dorm, housing 14 first-year students every year, making it a close community. It is the oldest surviving building at Harvard and the country’s oldest dormitory. Constructed between 1718 and 1720 by former Harvard Presidents John Leverett and Benjamin Wadsworth, the building has had several purposes: a refuge for American soldiers during the siege of Boston and an observatory when Thomas Hollis donated a telescope to the University in 1722. Now, Mass Hall residents – who live on the fourth floor in doubles and singles – share the building with the University President’s Office. Living in such close proximity to Johnston Gate makes trips to CVS and Harvard Square very easy. The dorm is also close to the classroom spaces in Harvard Yard, including historic Harvard Hall.
Mower (rhymes with "flower"), an architectural mirror image of next-door Lionel Hall, was once home to Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Today, Mower houses 35 first-year students and is divided into two vertical entryways. A small dorm, Mower’s size lends itself to a close-knit community and former residents comment on the “cute, quaint, airy, and light-filled rooms” as enjoyable places in which to live. Mower looks out onto its own courtyard, making for a peaceful respite from the crowd of tourists that often roam through Harvard Yard. Located nearby is Harvard’s hub for public service, Phillips Brooks House, classrooms in the Science Center and Holden Chapel, as well as all the shops in Harvard Square such as CVS, OTTO Pizza, and Starbucks.
Stoughton, built in 1805, was the second building to bear that name at Harvard. The original dormitory was built in 1700 and funded by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton who presided over the Salem Witch Trials. Stoughton houses students in large single room doubles with common bathrooms. One student remarked on how he enjoyed the social layout of the room: "Stoughton combines the comfort of a bedroom with the spacious luxury of a living room." Ideally located, Stoughton is a short walk from the Science Center and Annenberg Dining Hall. Johnston Gate is also very close by, which makes trips to CVS and other Harvard Square shops easy.
Built in 1926 by three brothers to memorialize their parents, Isidor and Ida, who had died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Straus Hall boasts a central location near the heart of Harvard Yard. Consisting mainly of suites of quads, with some doubles and triples, Straus boasts in-suite bathrooms and hardwood floors. Many enjoy Straus’ relatively small vertical entryways of approximately 25 students, which makes meeting new people and making friends easy. Straus also contains a stately common room with ornate wood-paneled walls, equipped with an Xbox. Of course, Harvard Square is also on Straus’ doorstep, making access to CVS and other shops convenient. Café Gato Rojo, a wonderful spot for chatting or studying over a cup of coffee, is also next door to Straus.