Four Clubs That Didn't Survive
Over the history of Harvard's final clubs, four took their finality especially literally, folding up and vanishing from campus.
The names Bat. Iroquois, Kex, and Iota mean little to today's Harvard students, but once they were prominent fixtures of social life.
The Iroquois Club, now part of the D.U., was founded in 1907, became final in 1941, and went out of business in 1971. The clubhouse at 74 Mt. Auburn St.. now the Hillel House, was sold to Harvard for $135,000 when the club folded, and the space was temporarily occupied by a halfway house for street people.
The Boston Herald-Traveler reported at the time that an alumnus had donated $35,000 of the purchase price, on the condition that the University rent the space to the halfway house "Sanctuary."
The Iroquois apparently suffered financial trouble before its demise, and in the early 1960s the club-sold subscriptions to shares of the club's deficit each year. There were 30 members when the D.U. absorbed the Iroquois.
The Bat Club had a brief but illustrious history. Founded in 1949, it set up shop in 53 Mt. Auburn St. on the corner of Plympton St., and promptly got rowdy.
In 1964 the club's undergraduate secretary reported to the 10-year-old alumni board the last stages of remodeling, including new refrigerators which "hold 86 percent more beer, produce ice 43 percent faster, and keep everyone 96 percent happier."
The Bat rented its clubhouse, and The Boston Herald reported in 1958 that the club and two other tenants--the Mozart Cafe and the Gold Coast Valeteria--had suffered fire damages.
The Bat's records end in 1965, without a trace of its disposition. Alumni from that era profess ignorance of its demise.
Another club which faded away is the 78 Mt. Auburn St. based Kex, founded in 1924 and not heard from after 1932. The officers of 1930-31 reported solvency and a small membership, adding that "The pessimism as to the inevitable effect of the House plan seems to be quite unjustified for this year at least..." and mentioned the possibility of a merger with a fraternity, Alpha Sigma.
The most mysterious of the dead clubs is the lots. Its record in the University archives is a single strip of paper that reads:
IOTACLUB--Letter from Wolcon Fuller "Although I and a few others in my class were taken into this club when we were in college, nothing ever happened as there was no club house and apparently the club faded out while I was in college."