45 Dunster Street: The New HPClubhouse

The five years in our old clubhouse at 96 Winthrop Street have sped by. They also mark a great period of change for the Pudding, including the creation of the Hasty Pudding Institute; the return of giving all HPT and Kroks members automatic membership to the Club; the hiring of our Steward, Pam McCutcheon; the creation of the Order of the Golden Sphinx Gala, which serves as our main fundraiser every year; the revitalization and massive expansion of our philanthropic giving and support; the resuscitation of Club activities, such as regular lunches, dinners, Members' Nights, Lectures Lunches, etc; and, of course, our most recent move to a gender-inclusive cast in next year's HPT production.

But with the Pudding's successful revitalization and increased activities, it was time to move into a space large enough for and befitting of the Pudding. And so we're moving to 45 Dunster Street, which is at the corner of Dunster Street and Mount Auburn. 45 Dunster Street was most recently occupied by the Bee Club and J. Press. For those wondering, the Bee moved out last summer, having officially merged with the Delphic Club. 

45 Dunster Street lies in the historic heart of Harvard Square and Cambridge itself. Dunster Street was the original main street in the Square and was home to the first tavern and thirteen of the town’s fifty-seven houses. In 1632, on the same plot of land as number 45, the first meeting house in Cambridge (and eighth in the entire Massachusetts Bay Colony) was built, which we find very fitting for the oldest social club.

Records are murky for the next few centuries. But from 1820 to 1917, the address served as a bakery and "fancy cake store". It was run by William Wright from 1853 until 1898. In 1869, Wright tore down the existing structure and built a new building, which looks surprisingly similar to the current one. Eventually, his son, George Wright, took over the business and became the first president of the Harvard Square Business Association. After his death, the building fell into disuse and became dilapidated. Eventually the land was purchased by the D.U. Club for a new clubhouse in 1930 – the D.U. having decided that the clubhouse they had just built in 1914, directly across from Pennypacker at 396 Harvard Street, didn't have quite the right location. They hired the firm Perry, Shaw & Hepburn to build a grand Georgian Revival style clubhouse. You may recognize the firm's work from Colonial Williamsburg, Houghton Library, or the Harvard Coop. The D.U. Club occupied the building until merging with the Fly Club in 1996. A short time later, the Bee Club took over the space until this past summer.

While the lease negotiations were made very quickly with the Fly – after all space in the Square is scarce – we are taking care to turn the building into our true home. Most importantly, we added a small stage and performance space in the building’s top floor banquet hall in order to solidify the Pudding’s home as an on-campus center for the arts and creative expression. We opened the doors of our new clubhouse to the undergraduates and our alumni on the first day of the Fall 2018 semester.

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