Harvard Bridge


“One of the bridges across the Charles River in Boston is measured, not only in feet, (it’s about a few thousand feet long or something), but also measured as 360 “Smoots” long. In fact, I think there’s a plaque or something on the bridge, which gives the measurements. Smoot was a guy in a Harvard club, who had to lie down, make a mark, get up, lie down again, and measure how long the bridges.”

Joe heard this story sometime during his freshman year at Harvard University in 1984.

Really, Oliver Smoot was a pledge at MIT in 1958. Being the shortest pledge, his brothers measured the length of the bridge by flipping him end over end, the whole way across. The bridge is approximately 2,164ft, or 364 Smoots +/- one ear.

The story is published by the Lamba Chi Alpha Fraternity chapter at MIT, and the “smoot marks” are repainted every year. Joseph’s version of the story named Smoot as a member of Harvard club, rather than an MIT undergrad, which demonstrates a level of multiplicity and variation.