Holworthy Hall is a freshman residence hall at Harvard University that was built in 1812 and renovated in 1990. The building is located on Plympton Street in Harvard Yard, which is the oldest section of Harvard University’s campus located in Cambridge, MA which essentially is part of Boston. It was originally built for the purpose of housing freshman men, but now also houses women. It was named after its original owner, Thomas Holworthy, who was a professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard from 1825 to 1828 as well as an alumnus from 1790. He also left the university a sizable bequest upon his death. At one point, the building was commonly referred to as the “Hydro” by students. Today it is simply called “Holworthy” by most people.

exterior of holworthy hall cambridge MA

History of Holworthy Hall

Holworthy Hall is one of the oldest buildings on Harvard’s campus. It was built in 1812, shortly after the completion of the first Harvard dormitory, Massachusetts Hall.. The original name of the building was “The New Dormitory for the Freshmen,” and it was the second building built for the sole purpose of housing freshmen. The first dormitory, Massachusetts Hall, will be discussed in more detail later. Holworthy Hall was named after its original owner, Thomas Holworthy, who was a professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard from 1825 to 1828 as well as an alumnus from 1790. In its early years, the dormitory was referred to as the “New Dormitory” and the “New Building.” The name “New Dormitory” stuck until 1874, when the building was officially renamed Holworthy Hall. Perhaps “New Dormitory” was seen as too unprofessional, as the dorm was not only the newest building on campus, but it also held the reputation of being the most disorderly building as well. The building was expanded in 1880 to accommodate the growing number of students who lived there. The dormitory was renovated in 1990, its most recent renovation.

1990 Renovation

The 1990 renovation was intended to bring the building closer to the architectural style of other freshman dormitories on campus. Furthermore, the renovation aimed to improve the building’s living conditions, utilities, and safety measures. The renovation of the building included the installation of an elevator, the addition of an additional stairwell, new windows and roof, and the removal of asbestos. Another major change made during the renovation was the shift in the building’s use from housing only freshmen to housing both freshmen and sophomores. This was likely done in order to make room for more sophomores in the building, as Holworthy housed a large number of freshmen. The renovation likely accommodated this shift by adding a dining hall in the basement of the building and increasing the number of study rooms.

2013 Renovation

In 2013, Holworthy Hall was renovated again to bring it up to code and make it more sustainable. The main goals of this renovation were to improve the building’s water, air, and energy efficiency. The renovations made to the building include the installation of new windows, the replacement of the entire roof, a new central air and heating system, and the installation of solar panels on the roof. The new air and heating system and the solar panels reduce the building’s energy costs and make it more environmentally friendly. Additionally, the renovations allowed the building to be compliant with modern building codes.

Holworthy Hall Today

Holworthy Hall is now home to both freshmen and sophomores. The building is split into five sections, each of which is led by a “Head.” The Head of the freshmen section is called the “First Head” and the Head of the sophomore section is called the “Second Head.” Each section of the building has a lounge, a kitchen, and a shared bathroom. There is also a common room that is used by all students in the building. Holworthy Hall is home to a total of about 245 students. The First Head is currently Kevin Caruso and the Second Head is currently Alex McGuire. Each Head has two assistants, called “Tutors.” The Tutors for the First and Second Heads are currently Andrew Saenz and Jennifer-Anne Paredes, respectively. The building’s resident tutors (RTs) are Nahal Beheshti, Anamul Hoque, Michael Kim, and Stephanie Xie.


Holworthy Hall is a building rich in history. It has been in operation for nearly two centuries, and it has been renovated several times during that time. The building has seen many changes in terms of its residents and its appearance, and it has adapted to function with the changing times. It is likely that Holworthy Hall will continue to operate as a student residence for many years to come.