The Harvard Bridge (also known locally as the "MIT bridge" or the "Mass Ave bridge") is the longest bridge over the Charles River. One end of the bridge is in the Back Bay region of Boston, Massachusetts, and the other at the campus of MIT in the city of Cambridge. Its length, as crossing pedestrians are reminded by length markers painted at 10-smoot intervals by MIT fraternity brothers, is 364.4 smoots and one ear.
According to MIT legend, the bridge is so named, despite the fact that it is nearer to MIT than to Harvard (and is also known informally around Boston as the "MIT bridge"), because when it was originally constructed, the state offered to name it after the Cambridge school that was most deserving. Harvard argued that their contribution to education was well-known, and thus they deserved the name. MIT concurred, having analyzed the bridge and found it structurally unsound, and thus more deserving of the Harvard name than the MIT name. Subsequently the bridge was rebuilt, confirming the MIT engineer's fears.
The story is apocryphal. The real reason for the name is that Harvard Bridge was first constructed in 1891, while MIT only moved to its current location in 1916. Nevertheless, the bridge was rebuilt in the late 1980s to convert it to a more modern design.
- See also: other places called Harvard