Harvard Lampoon

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Built in 1909, this headquarters for Harvard’s Humor Magazine, the Harvard Lampoon, is made to look like a surprised Prussian officer, pre-WWI. Looking at it head-on, you can see the point of his helmet, the portico window eyes, the lantern nose, and the oval-shaped mouth above the door. The chimneys running on each side of this front-end view suggest arms stuck straight in the air, suggesting he may be surrendering. They really thought about this design.

Unfortunately, the building’s appearance has caused some controversy amongst its detractors, most famously from former Cambridge mayor Alfred Vellucci, who called it “the ugliest building I ever did see,” and furthermore suggested it was a great place for a Public Lavatory.

Founded in 1876, the Harvard Lampoon claims to be the longest running humor magazine still in operation. The Harvard Crimson is critical of this claim, particularly in recent years as the Lampoon has shifted away from a printed copy, and primarily publishes digital editions. On occasion, they continue to release special editions, but the Crimson has delighted themselves by referring to their rivals consistently whenever they are mentioned as “the semi-secret Sorrento Square organization that occasionally used to publish a so-called humor magazine.”

Note the famous Ibis at the top of the building. It has become the organization’s mascot and symbol. The bird itself was a gift from Citizen Kane himself, media mogul William Randolph Hurst (ejected from Harvard for a prank of his own), and has been the primary target of theft from the Rival Crimson editors.