Historical Group Wants Landmark Preserved on Design-School Site

The Graduate School of Design has found itself a location and the Cambridge historical landmarks movement a cause.

The site of the new school, on Quincy St. opposite Sanders Theatre, is also the site of the old Jared Sparks House, described by a member of the Cambridge Historical Commission as "a really significant house." The Commission has asked the University to discuss the feasibility of relocating the Sparks House.

Jared Sparks was President of Harvard from 1849 to 1853. Although the University was at that time moving away from its emphasis on Greek and Roman studies. Sparks was a classicist through and through, and his house reflected his taste.

There is a plaster bust of Sparks, dressed in a togs, with a hairstyle to match, on the second floor.

The house, built in the 1830's, represents a form of Greek revival that may have been peculiar to Cambridge. Except for a couple of paint jobs and the removal of some pillars to the basement of the neighboring Swedenborgian Church, the exterior of the Sparks House remains what it was a century ago.


The University, which bought the property for a reported $1 million, will now have to decide whether to move Sparks House again or demolish it.

Harvard will probably consult with the Cambridge Historical Commission before making its decision, but will do so out of courtesy since the Commission's authority over historical landmarks is limited to four Cambridge's "historic districts" - and the Sparks House is outside the boundaries of all of them.