Mower, you say? Sorry, we don’t serve that here

Natasha L. Coleman

Despite its famous alums, Mower just isn't worth the walk.

Weld had JFK. Hollis had Emerson. Wigglesworth had Bill Gates. At a place like Harvard, history—and who was pre-gaming in your room 40 years ago—is definitely a point of pride.

That’s a sentiment the tour guides of Unofficial Tours (UT), Inc. (unofficially known as Hahvahd Tours) trifled with this fall, when they mistakenly told visitors that roommates Al Gore ’69 and Tommy Lee Jones ’69 lived in Holworthy Hall instead of Mower Hall.

In November, the blatant error finally caused Holworthy residents to put up a sign (“Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones lived in MOWER”) alerting UT guides—and their tourists—to the mistake.

Benjamin M. Wu ’10, of Holworthy, says he used to catch snippets of UT tours as they passed by and at first thought it was “cool” that Gore and Jones were said to have lived in Holworthy. But after a friend looked it up and found the statement wasn’t true, he and his roommates decided to put up the sign.

“We get a kick out of it,” he says. “We’re just playing around with the people walking by and seeing how they adjust when they see it.”

But every tourist point for Holworthy is one robbed from Mower.

“We’ve got a little Mower pride about how famous people used to live here,” says Mower resident Daniel P. Robinson ’10.

“The celebrity idea doesn’t have a big effect on my day-to-day decisions, but [UT’s mistake] is dishonest,” says Robinson.

According to UT, Inc. co-founder Daniel A. Schofield-Bodt ’07-’08, Harvard’s lengthy history has yielded resources containing “contradictory claims about our school.” In an e-mail, his fellow co-founder Jordan C. Jones ’07 offered “a special thanks to our freshmen friends in Holworthy for making such an extended effort to bring this to our attention.”

Schofield-Bodt and Jones say that time constraints will prevent them from changing the tour route to wind around Mower. Instead of tour guides pointing to Holworthy when talking about Gore and Jones, Schofield-Bodt says they will now “just not point anywhere at all.”

The two are now asking for the campus’ help to find the former residence of Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski ’62 on which they say Harvard has unreliable data.

—Van Le