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Ashdown House

By Katie Jeffreys

Features Editor

In 1937, MIT acquired the Riverbank Court Hotel which it planned to use as graduate student housing. The 400 students it would house were moved from Graduate House (which is now Senior House). The Riverbank Court Hotel was at one time the only hotel in Cambridge, and opened in 1901.

The hotel was arranged in suites, which after modernization and remodeling proved ideal for use as dormitory space. The courtyard was created at this point and spaces such as a lounge, reading room, library, clubroom, buttery, game room and dining room were created. Avery Allen Ashdown, housemaster of the previous Graduate House continued in this role in the new dormitory which was later named for him.

On September 19, 1938, the new Graduate House opened its doors as MIT's first west campus building.