Campus & Community

Harvard’s hidden yard

2 min read

Students meditate, celebrate by wisteria, fountain

Tucked behind Adams House, Randolph Courtyard offers students an escape from the bustle of Harvard Square.

In this secluded, special space, Adams residents can relax in a swing canopied by wisteria, fire up the grill for House barbecues, eat strawberries and sip champagne while a string quartet plays on the last day of finals, have snowball fights, and, with family and friends watching, eventually graduate. The iconic Harvard Square turkey has even been known to wander behind the garden’s wrought-iron gates.

“Randolph Courtyard is one of my favorite places at Harvard,” said student Christie Tzelios. On sunny days here, “You can always find Adams students reading a book, lounging in the hammock, or catching up with friends.”

Randolph Courtyard is part of Adams House at Harvard University. Imposing black wrought-iron gates guard the entrance on Linden Street.
A marker by the gate indicates the address.
Adams House resident Christie Tzelios ’18 crosses the courtyard, passing Apthorp House. Apthorp was built in 1760 and today is home to resident deans Judith and Sean Palfrey.
A fountain drips in a corner near the Plimpton Street entrance.
Gold ornaments glimmer on a shiny black gate.
Intricate stone carvings loop on a block in a hidden corner.
A modern bench is dedicated to Larry Hill, 1936-1989.
Student Cydnee Colpaert ’20 lives at Adam House and enjoys a warm fall day in the hammock at Randolph Courtyard. “The Square and the Yard can be a little too hectic to deal with at times so it’s nice to have this quiet and scenic getaway that is still so close to classes,” she said. “It also has pretty great WiFi, which is a huge plus.”
From inside the garden, a look through to Mount Auburn Street.
Detail of a brass wave on the bottom of a door in the courtyard.
The residences with views of the courtyard were originally called “Gold Coast” dormitories. They were built from 1893–1902 to provide luxurious accommodations for rich Harvard undergraduates.
Grace Whitney ’20 and Diego Covarrubias ’20 talk under a wisteria-covered arbor on a swing in the courtyard.