It was home to mice and roaches and fish and grad students. Its heaters leaked and its stairs creaked and its floors splintered into residents’ feet. It was old and rundown, and it was home.
W1, previously called Ashdown House, is a distinctively old and grand-looking building, complete with cupolas, clocktower and turrets overlooking the Charles River at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Memorial Drive. Once the Riverbank Court Hotel, built in 1901 and bought by MIT in 1937, Ashdown became the second graduate dorm in the country when it opened in the fall of 1938.
Now, more than seven decades later, the graduate community of Ashdown has settled into its new home in NW35, the so-called New Ashdown. They moved from the original Ashdown in 2008. The “Old Ashdown” is undergoing major renovations and will open in fall 2011 as an undergraduate dorm, newly dubbed Maseeh Hall, thanks to Fariborz Maseeh ScD ’90, whose $24 million dollar gift prompted the Institute to complete construction.
To its former graduate residents, however, the dorm remains Old Ashdown. They remember it with a smile and laugh that is part nostalgia, part good-natured ridicule ...
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