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Memorial Hall

7. You never know what you're going to find inside those brick and stone buildings. That strange shrunken castle in the middle of Bow Street with the odd purple-and-yellow door and the leftover can of Pabst Blue Ribbon by the threshold? Headquarters of the Harvard Lampoon, where writers George Plimpton and John Updike, actor Fred Gwynne and comedian Conan O'Brien have honed punch lines. And that massive Victorian Gothic building on Quincy Street -- the one with the stone walls, marble floors, walnut paneling, stained-glass windows, Volkswagen-sized chandelier and 60-foot vaulted ceiling? That's Harvard's freshman dining hall, and all others are banned from entry. The building is called Memorial Hall, and it was built in 1878 to honor Harvard alumni who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Besides the dining hall, it houses the Sanders Theatre and a transept that feels more churchy than most churches. It's usually open noon to 6 p.m. weekdays. Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles
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