When the crowd of students watched the athletic building go up in flame and smoke yesterday morning they witnessed the passing of a landmark, despite its newness in comparison with other buildings of Harvard, well-dyed in the athletic history of the University. There is no room for maudlin sentimentality in Harvard tradition but there is enough sincere regret in the burning of the locker building to make its loss more one of attachment than of practicality. It is fortunate that the building is to be replaced by a modern structure through graduate generosity, but up to date conveniences can not substitute the loss of valuable trophies and past memories.
This incident and the fire in Claverly Hall a few weeks ago bring the question of adequate fire protection for University property into sharper relief. Many of the students in the Gold Coast dormitory slumbered peacefully through the disturbance. The flames at Soldiers Field Tuesday had completely demolished the frame of the building and with it all hopes of saving it long before reenforcements arriving from nearby districts had pushed their way through the huge gathering assembled from all over Cambridge. Had the fire on Mt. Auburn Street had such a start, the outcome would have been a holocaust.
The destruction of the locker building may be a rather slim excuse to cry "wolf" at any great length, but the fact that the precautions against fire-loss in the University are inadequate was well enough evidenced throughout all of Tuesday's performance. In event of a conflagration of any of the buildings with significant historical value attached, such as Apthorp and Wadsworth Houses, contributions, however spontaneous, could do little to restore the actual loss to Harvard.