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Ecrie is the world to described Warren House, in whose labyrinth of hallways, trap doors, secret stairways, and weirdly built rooms the heads of the English department make their workday nest.
The ancient rambling building was built by Henry Clark Warren '79, for his home. Warren, crippled at the age of three, was never able to stand erect and even had a seat in his Warren House bathtub. He was interested in Chinese architecture and pottery and built one porch of Warren as a Chinese pagoda. In his day he was one of the outstanding Sanskrit authorities of the nation, and the department of Indic Philology has made use of the many manuscripts in the house.
Missing--One Secret Stairway
In the matter of architecture Warren is most unusual. A common 18th century American front hides most of the glory that lies inside. Even the Chinese pagoda porch is masked so that the causal view of the outside does not reveal it.
No two of Warren's many fireplaces are in the least alike. Warren's taste for the unusual is also shown in the trap door which leads to a blank tunnel beneath the second floor, the secret stairway which is shown on the House blueprints but which is as yet undiscovered, the bedroom, in which the master's bed is separated from the remainder of the room by a sliding wall, and the peep-holes above the stairway on the second floor from which he could decide whether or not to admit guests.
Although the Warren House staff has made research in the University archives and in Boston's history, no one has as yet uncovered the date of its erection.
When Warren was first built it stood facing the Yard, where the Harvard Union is today. At the erection of the Union, however, it was moved lock, stock, and barrel to its present position.
Warren House is one of the few all civilian buildings remaining in the Yard, because soldiers don't take English A. Across the way, however, at the Union, ensigns parade back and forth for meals throughout the day.
Today conferees sit solemnly in the real part of the wall where the master's bedroom was, and the false wall hangs perilously over their heads. Today an English A student will walk unknowingly over the trap door, or wonder at the filled in peop-holes.
Today the prosaic men of the English department daily find their way through the labyrinth to get to and from their classes, and the mystery and wonder of Warren House and Henry Clark Warren are being slowly ground back into dust by their everyday heels.
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