Adams House

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As part of our Housing Market series, we've been posting reviews and rankings for each of Harvard's 12 residential Houses. Click here to read more about our project.

One of the best parts about living in Adams House is knowing that throngs of Quadlings, River rats, and even claustrophobic Quincy residents would trade a whole GPA point to live in your gold-brushed abode. That’s right, be jealous. Be very jealous. We bet your House Master didn’t carry the Olympic torch.

Dining Hall: Rather than deeming space “tight,” we’ll call it cozy. Of course, there are those two words: dining restrictions. Sucks for you if you're not in Adams, but the tightest interhouse dining restrictions on campus keep the riff-raff out of this Gold Coast haven. Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows make this elegant dining hall the perfect space for House events. Lucy is a friendly card swiper, but the real gems work the grill, whipping up omelettes and commiserating with students about menu choices.

Score: +10 if you're an elitist

Common Spaces: Reserve in advance. The Adams Lower Common Room and Upper Common Room are great for hosting meetings, study groups, and so on, but book them ahead of time. The Adams library is another cozy space with its own group of regular study-fiends. Nook-like common spaces dot the halls of Adams entryways, and the underground muraled tunnels lead to what used to be the Adams pool and is now used as a theater of sorts. For the athletically inclined, the Adams gym is a little lacking. The “dungeon” has six machines and a separate weight room. The upside is that the large television gets a pretty decent cable package.

Score: +30 for the Coolidge Room, -7 for the "dungeon"

Rooms: Run the gamut. Rumor has it H- and I-entryways used to be the servants’ quarters, which is perhaps why upperclassmen housing is mostly in A-, B-, and C-entryways. Claverly Hall, built in 1893, was the first of the Gold Coast dormitories, luxurious alternatives to Yard living for someone of Harvard’s most privileged students. Apthorp House, now home to Adams House Masters Judith S. Palfrey '67 and John G. "Sean" Palfrey '67, is the oldest part of Adams, built in 1760. Four lucky seniors each year live in the Adams’ elusive senior house. The Adams House Guest Suite (renamed the FDR Suite) can be booked by Harvard affiliates for $100 per night.

Score: -100 for thin walls, +400 for senior house

House Spirit: The Adams House Committee does a great job of planning events during the year, including Drag Night, the Harvard-Yale tailgate, Winter Feast, Winter Formal, Chocoholica, and Spring Formal. In addition, this year’s FDR Gala truly reflected Adams stately past (FDR’s grandson flew in from France to attend).

Score: +500 for awesome events

Location: Central. Nestled between Harvard Square shops and final clubs and just a short hop, skip, and jump away from the Yard, Adams real estate is unbeatable, figuratively and literally situated on the edge of the Mass. Avenue divide. You'll be literally a minute or two away from Boloco's, Tommy’s Value Convenience Store, Qdoba, and anything else in the Square.

Score: +5,000 unless you like seclusion, -300 if you hate final clubs

Quirks: Go ask someone what Gold Coasting means.

Score: +20 for mystery

Committee Rank: 2 of 12. Nice job!

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