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To the Editors of the Crimson:
An examination of the arguments of those who favor the Warren House property as a site for the Harvard Union discloses the significant fact that they are distinctly apologetic. The advocates of this site do not pretend that the far side of Quincy street is, in any sense, a College centre; they content themselves with asserting that it can be made a centre, or with sneering at the idea that men will not care to walk for three or four minutes out of their way to reach the club.
Against the argument that a club house, such as the proposed Harvard Union "creates its own centre," we need but point out that there already exist two centres connected with different phases of College life: the athletic centre at Soldiers Field, which during good weather draws daily increasing numbers of students, and which is frequently visited by many graduates; and the social centre, which, roughly speaking, may be placed a trifle south of Massachusetts avenue. No new centre out of the line of those already existing can possibly be established; and there should be no attempt to establish a new centre which would not certainly be frequented by both athletes and club-men. At the Harvard Union we want all Harvard men and want them often.
The argument that a three or four minute walk is a matter of no moment, and that the few minutes we might spend in the club, if it were in a central location, are of little account beside the afternoons and evenings which are "free to most of us" and which conceivably would be spend in the club, shows nothing but the writer's misconception of the purpose and function of the Harvard Union. The men whose frequent presence in the Harvard Union is necessary to its greatest success are not men who can often afford an entire afternoon or evening; they are men who will most frequently drop in between whiles, for a few minutes relaxation before or after settling down to a lot of work, or attending to other interests. The very life of such a club depends up on its convenience for casual and brief visits; and even a distance of a third of a mile might interfere seriously with its usefulness.
The distances we are discussing appear vastly more important when it is remembered that very shortly we shall depend for transit on an elevated railway, which will have one station at Harvard or Brattle square, another at Putnam square, and none between. This will affect students as they come and go from Boston. A club requiring a third of a mile walk will not be a natural stopping place for students coming from town, nor will it be convenient to graduates who have attended a game at Soldiers Field; these will think twice before they walk the required distance for the sake of a few minutes' loaf.
The objections to a Quincy street location, then are real and potent, not fictitious. None of them is met in connection with College House site. It is central, convenient and physically suitable, situated on a broad avenue and facing, as it does, the main College gate. A. N. Rice. R. W. Bliss. W. Morrow. R. C. Bolling. F. L. Higginson, Jr. S. W. Lewis.
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