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01 Apley Court ST


About Apley Court

Congratulations, young prefrosh! Welcome to the home of the Apley Court Flying Squirrels. Either you have been sleeping with your local admissions officer, or you're just way too cool for school, because the Crimson Sorting Hat has placed you and 26 other elite young freshman in the finest, most luxurious, most spacious, and coolest freshman dorm this side of the Charles. Below find brief sections on Apley's History, Accomodations, Location, Social Scene, and The Flying Squirrels.


Apley Court is unique amongst other freshman dorms in that it's the only dorm part of the celebrated Gold Coast - at the turn of the 19th century, Harvard's social elite constructed lush apartments on Mt. Auburn to get away from the cramped, uncomfortable yard dormitories. Many prominent names have graced Apley Court; my roomie and I lived in the room across the hall from T.S. Eliot's room. With the legendary history of Harvard's gentry, you have accommodations to match, one of the coolest parts about Apley.


Enter the large wooden doors of Apley Court on Holyoke Street, in fact why not first take a knock with the ancient stone lion knockers on the doors too, and find yourself in a luxurious lobby with a marble staircase. Apley is set up around this staircase. There are five floors of Apley Court, not including the basement, which houses a huge common room (with ping-pong table and small glass chicken), a cozy TV room, vending machines, laundry machines and dryers, and some other haunted passageways which you will discover. There are usually three or four rooms per floor; with the exception of the 2nd floor, which The Dean usually lives on. The Dean is awesome, you will get to know him very well. Make sure you solicit him for Freshman IMs, you will find him to be a very adept Flying Squirrel (in my case, The Dean was a menace on the Frisbee pitch).

When your pitiful friends from the Yard ascend the soaring marble staircase and enter your high-ceiling-ed, marble bathroom-ed, walk in closet-ed palace, you will see what can only be described as tears of rage develop in their weary little eyes. Open your large wooden door, and enter into a dorm room out of a fairy tale. Apley's rooms are most commonly doubles, with a few singles and 1-2 triples scattered throughout. I lived in a double, so I'll explain how ours looked. When you enter the door there is a coat closet on your left, and your very own private bathroom (for 2 people. You will find yourself increasingly thankful for this, compared to your friends who share communal bathrooms). The bathroom is great; they were right about the marble, and there's even a little wooden window in the shower which you can slide up and let the refreshing boston cold come in while you bathe in a hot shower/bath, and also you have a picturesque elevated view of the yard through the window. It's all very soothing, especially with some aroma candles and some Norah Jones playing in the background. Don't get your hopes too high for the marble tub; as far as we can tell, its an ordinary tub, but it's a tub nonetheless.

Past the closet and bathroom is the common room. Ceilings throughout Apley are very high, and this is very nice. The common room is roughly I'd say about 15 by 20 feet, maybe 20 by 25? Suffice it to say it is quite huge, especially for two people. In fact, you may consider having one roommate sleep in the common room, and the other in the bedroom (this is what we did - this means singles for both of us all year). There is a big wooden fireplace on the right wall (sealed off unfortunately) and a wooden mantle above. The bedroom is about 10 by 15 feet, or 15 by 20, a little smaller, but cozy, and huge compared to the rest on the bedrooms in the yard. There is more than enough room to fit your bed, desk, shag rug, and anything else, with plenty of walking room to spare. The most envy-inciting feature of the Apley room is the walk-in closet. This thing is practically the size of some unfortunate souls' rooms in the Yard, consider renting it out. A spacious closet lets you walk in and store all your items comfortably. Err on the side of bringing too much rather than too little to college to fill up your huge room and walls, contrary to what common wisdom may say, because this is no common dorm room. Also featured are big windows in both the common and bedrooms looking out onto the street or at Claverly Hall, the upperclass house right across from Apley.

Outside the Yard? Should I be worried? Location and Social Scene

As you have probably found out by now, Apley Court is just outside the Yard -- have no fear though, it is mere seconds from Wigglesworth and the rest of the Yard, and you will soon find the location of Apley to be incredible. If there's anyone to be complaining about location, it should be the kids in the Union dorms, living in the boonies. The area around Apley Court is the heart of Cambridge and the Harvard social scene. Mt. Auburn plays host to many great restaurants (you'll soon discover late-night Felipe's and Noch's can do a body good), and you're close to the upperclass houses and final clubs, both of which host most of the parties on campus.

You will find Annenberg to be a little far (not nearly as far as from the Union dorms). In fact, think of it as the same distance from Wigglesworth to Annenberg, with an extra minute. Trust me, the extra minute or two makes the food taste that much better. But have no fear: if you are not up for the trek, and the mystique of Hogwarts has passed, there's always the much-closer, more-tasty upperclass dining halls (I recommend Lowell, Quincy, and Adams as the closest). As for interaction with your Yard peers, as long as you will yourself to go into the yard, you will be just fine. Besides, you will find that Apley is a very tight dorm, and everyone will know everybody very soon. Don't worry; the house selection people put plenty of thinking into who's in each dorm, and at least in my experience Apley has a really great group of people you'll get along well with. You may even find your closest friends in Apley.

The Flying Squirrels

You may have noticed I have repeatedly alluded to the Apley Court Flying Squirrels, because this is something that must be passed down from one generation of Apleyites to the next. From what I was told as a freshman, it goes like this. A long time ago, as Harvard's social elite occupied Apley's fine halls, there was a hunting expedition planned by those in the building in the nearby Commons. Much game was released, and each strapping youth hunted himself a pheasant or a quail with relatively easy success. Yet, throughout the day, a particular little squirrel - fast, cunning, and inventive -- alluded the fire of the young Apleyites. Soon all Apleyites recognized all that remained was this one squirrel, and they were determined to hunt this Squirrel. As all centered their attention and fired away, the Squirrel darted to and fro, dancing in the wind and avoiding each successive shot. After all the shells had been fired, the squirrel managed to escape up into a tree to the chagrin of the young hunters. Just as they turned away to head back to their warm rooms, the young Squirrel lept from the tree, soared through the air, and glided directly to a soft landing in front of the stunned Apleyites. It paused, chuckled, and scampered away. Henceforth, the residents of Apley Court have named themselves the Apley Court Flying Squirrels. This name has been used to represent Apley in all aspects, particularly in the intramurals competitions. You will be given an opportunity in the first week of your freshman year to name your Intramural team. Do not forget the legend. Apley is unique in its history, as no other dorm has such a longstanding tradition - embrace it! Go forth, young squirrels, and enjoy your bliss!


Dorm from the Outside

01 Apley Court ST 02 Front Doors SZ
Front Doors

Dorm Inside

03 Hallway SZ 04 Hallway SZ 05 Common Room SZ
Common Room
06 Staircase SZ

Room in Apley Court

07 Private Bathroom SZ
Private Bathroom
08 Room SZ 09 Room SZ 10 Room SZ
11 Room SZ
12 Room SZ
13 Room SZ


Text by Shaan Hathiramani '08
Photos by Snezhana Zlatinova '07 and Sergey Trishin '05

Sergey Trishin, 2005.