Commission Supports New Mem Hall
To The Editors:
A recent article in The Crimson misrepresents the Historical Commission's position on the renovation of Memorial Hall ("Cambridge Architect Protests Renovations," news story, Oct. 4, 1994).
For decades after it was abandoned as a dining hall in the mid-1920s, Memorial Hall was preserved only by neglect; many remember the administration's past hostility to the building, which was considered an unwanted remnant of the Victorian age.
The best method of preserving an historic building for the long run is to ensure that it performs a productive function. At first, Harvard's plan to reactivate the dining hall caused alarm because it carried the danger of destroying the character of the historic interior. However, it was obvious that the kitchen wing added in 1904 was inadequate, and that an additional facility was required.
The Cambridge Historical Commission is convinced that necessary measures have been taken to minimize the disruption caused by the current changes. Yes, we might prefer that Harvard continue to restore the building without adding to it or changing its function; but we recognize that the productive use represented by the new addition is the best way to ensure that the University will continue to invest in it. --Charles M. Sullivan Executive Director Cambridge Historical Commission