Community Activities

Forty-four Harvard undergraduates will open an after-school recreational center for Cambridge teenagers five weeks after two suspicious fires at Margaret Fuller House caused severe damage and delayed the opening of the center there.

Michael Foster '83, chairman of the Fuller House Committee at Phillips Brooks House Association (PBH), said yesterday volunteers will coordinate organized sports and juggling, dance, poetry and drama classes in addition to tutoring students. Others will "hang-out" and play games with teenagers in a large basement adjoined to the House, Foster added.

The house, located near Central Square, has been closed since the two fires on October 22, but Foster said the basement will reopen next week.

Foster said yesterday the programs will be run temporarily in a nearby church or in the Roberts School until the house reopens next year.

Michael Alter '83, director of the organized sports program, said yesterday teenagers will play basketball, volleyball and other sports. "This is basically for all those kids who are not involved in team sports at school and would like to be involved in them," Alter said.


Paula Van Gelder--a staff member of the Cambridge Department of Human Services, who has helped coordinate in the past year the revitalization of the 19th-century house, which is a historical landmark--said yesterday the insurance company had not released any estimates of the fire damage.

Edward J. Fowler, an inspector for the Cambridge Arson Squad, said last week the fires were probably "harassment fires," adding, "I definitely feel we are going to have another fire there."

Fowler said an area resident had donated a photograph taken two months before the fires of two men piling debris against the house. Some residents said the men in the photograph look familiar, but the men have not been positively identified, Fowler added.

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