Talk:Harvard Bridge

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smoots are not appropriate on wikipedia. this encyclopedia is written for a general audience. please convert the units to SI. thanks. ptkfgs 17:24, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

The smoots have been a celebrated part of the history of Boston for half a century and are the only notable thing about this bridge. SI units are given as well in the article.--agr 02:26, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
The Smoots article is absolutely necessary on Wikipedia. It [Wikipedia] is here to have definitions and explanations of all sorts of things. Especially the random, weird, different ones. HobbesPDX 22:22, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Looks like someone has a problem with the Smoots again. How can we clarify this situation such that people will understand that there are exceptions to rules? The "tone" of the article is fine, so that banner should be removed as well. - Denimadept 18:25, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
This article points out that the smoots were measured erroneously but I would offer that since the smoots were measured before the bridge was rebuilt that it's the reinstatement of the smoots that was done erroneously. azulita 18:15, 6 July 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
I'd buy that if the figures had changed, but they didn't. - Denimadept (talk) 22:20, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I just almost went crazy adding {{convert}} to Smoots to every length measurement. Would that have been too much? - Denimadept (talk) 08:18, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Okay, now I've added smoots to every length measurement which wouldn't result in results of "1 sm". The first convert in the article also allows readers to click on "sm" to find out what it means. - Denimadept (talk) 04:18, 19 January 2017 (UTC)


On the pamorama one of the Cambridge building looks like it on fire. This winter the building in back of that building had a fire. both buildings are residential and office space buildings.

If I remember correctly, that's normal for that building. It's the heating/AC system. It gives off mist in the winter. Denimadept 03:12, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
In fact, I saw it giving off mist on 19 April. - Denimadept (talk) 06:38, 7 May 2009 (UTC)


There are four digits of smoot precision! Depending on the length of "and one ear", I'm not sure how you can round up a whole 5 decimeters, and call it only 3 digits of precision for that matter. Are you saying Mr. Smoot has big ears? Or are you saying that MIT students don't know how to measure precisely? Does anyone know how big Mr. Smoot's ears are? Or how drunk frat boys at MIT could get in 1958? Denimadept 14:37, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Greetings, Denimadept. As your comments appear to be directed at me, I hasten to be the first to respond. I'm not saying any of the things you question, nor rounding up 0.5 m. As a defender of the smoot, you will know that 5' 7" is the primary figure, as the Smoot page makes clear. Multiplying 67 inches (only two significant figures there) by 364.4, and converting, gives us 620.14 m. Regardless of ear size, it does not seem a stretch to express this as "about 620" - in fact rounding down a bit. Further decimals might not be justified. Cheers, Hertz1888 15:15, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
It seems that my math was off. Now I'm trying to figure out how 619.5 got there. If I use the figure in the smoot article of 1.702 m, I get 620.21 m. If I use 67in × 2.54 cm/inch then multiply by 364.4 smoots, I get your figure. I humbly beg pardon! But then I'm not an MIT grad. :-D Denimadept 15:35, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Neither am I, and no apologies needed. It's kind of refreshing (as a respite from more serious pursuits) to be "worrying" about differences of less than one walking pace in the length of a sidewalk spanning the Charles. Thanks for your many contributions to the development of the page. Hertz1888 16:20, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Before I got a GPS a few weeks ago, I used to laugh at 8 digits of precision. I didn't have a good grasp on how inaccurate that was. I thought it was more. Now that I see how useful those 8 digits can be, I've stopped laughing and gotten appreciative. Less than one walking pace is nicely precise. When I make my trip to the Charles River (Real Soon Now) to take pictures of this and other crossings in the Basin, I'll be sure to cover this bridge really well. And the GPS has been very useful for finding bridges so I can take pictures. That's mostly what I bought it for. But Connecticut River first! The Charles and the Taunton can wait. Denimadept 19:22, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


I'm working on an expansion/reworking of this article. See User:Denimadept/Harvard Bridge for details, and please feel free to make suggestions. As I'm keeping an off-line copy, please note that changes to the user page could be lost if I'm not aware of them. I'll try to merge changes here into my copy, or let you know if there's a conflict. - Denimadept (talk) 15:33, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Update. I've effectively finished my expansion. I'm still trying to get my hands on some older images of the bridge via eBay. Assuming those happen, I'll add them when I get them. - Denimadept (talk) 06:37, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Naming section with MIT[edit]

I'm trying to resolve the lack of citations. Given that this is a "story", there may be no way to resolve it as such. I'd prefer to maintain the concept, but in a way that's sustainable. Suggestions? - Denimadept (talk) 17:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Looking back, the legend was introduced to the article nearly six years ago by Graft (talk), who remains active on WP. You might ask him if he recalls whether he read or heard the story. If the answer is "read", it might be possible to track down a published citation. Cheers, Hertz1888 (talk) 18:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I've now asked her. - Denimadept (talk) 18:05, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Her? Pardon me. Hertz1888 (talk) 18:17, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I think I saw something on the "Talk" page which used that pronoun, I don't recall just where. I don't know the person, myself. - Denimadept (talk) 18:52, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I just went back to look. If you look at Graft (talk · contribs)'s user page, I think you'll get where I'm coming from. There aren't a lot of guys in my experience (which may be limited, I'll grant you), trying to overthrow "the patriarchy". - Denimadept (talk) 18:56, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
This guy is. Graft | talk 16:27, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. - Denimadept (talk) 17:11, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
His answer is at User_talk:Graft#Harvard Bridge and MIT legends. Figured I'd post a pointer here so any peer reviewers can know how this question resolved so far. - Denimadept (talk) 20:56, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Infobox image[edit]

I just replaced the old Jet Lowe bridge image (which also appears later in the article) in the Infobox with a new image hot off the "press". I'm not sure I like it, though it does put the bridge in context. What say y'all? - Denimadept (talk) 07:46, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Bridge Length[edit]

At Oliver_R._Smoot and its talk page, I've challenged the phrase "364.4 smoots plus or minus one ear" based on strong sources which support "364.4 + 1 ear". Walter Nissen 2010-07-10 01:11 01:11, 10 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Walter Nissen (talkcontribs)

Article review[edit]

I'd really appreciate it if y'all would help me fix this per the review at Wikipedia:Peer review/Harvard Bridge/archive2. I'm especially having problems substantiating the "longest bridge over the Charles" claim. I've sent a query to MassDOT. - Denimadept (talk) 08:43, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Sources that can be used to expand article.[edit]

The three sources at the end of this section can both be used to expand that section, and the rest of this article. — Lentower (talk) 20:38, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I like the new info. Thanks for adding it. I've moved it to the existing "Maintenance and events" section, as that seems to be what it is. - Denimadept (talk) 06:04, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
One thing. I found the Boston Globe and the first Charles River Conservancy refs to be duplicates. I got rid of the Boston Globe one because it's kind of behind a paywall. Much, if not all, of the information on the bridge's background is already in the article, but the reasoning for adding the lighting would be a Good Thing to have here, IMHO. Or maybe just let them check the refs? I have no strong opinion on this. - Denimadept (talk) 06:14, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Most welcome. The Boston Globe is a more authoritative source than the CRC website copy of it. The Globe's paywall is partial, and won't cause an issue for most WP readers. Nothing wrong with two sources. The Globe is less likely to reorg it's website resulting in a WP:Dead link. Sources from the Globe are already in use in this article. The CRC website uses markup that can partially cover the copied article. Which is why I adding it back as the first listed source. (Of course, it be good to archive all the <ref>s, adding the parameters |archiveurl= |archivedate= |deadurl=.) It's good to also keep the CRC link, because it's a website that readers will find useful, and it will be a good place to find more sources about the bridge in the future.
I'm adding the original source from Boston Magazine too, for the same reasons.
More detail from the articles would be OK.
Never hurts to back up other points in the article with these new sources.
Likely to be more coverage, and more sources with time. Be great to add free images of the new lighting, when it's done (the image of the designer's rendering in the Globe article is worth more than a thousand words). — Lentower (talk) 08:35, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
As you wish. I hope to return to the area, so I can take new images as needed. - Denimadept (talk) 08:23, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Better images would be great. Thanks. — Lentower (talk) 18:32, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
I said "new", not "better". You dinna like my images? They're not all mine, but several (6) of them are. Note: I'm not taking that personally. You're welcome to not like them, but I'd appreciate suggestions for improvement. Right now, I'm in California, and am trying to return home, but I can't say when that will happen. I was only referring to new images to cover the upgraded lighting. - Denimadept (talk) 05:38, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
My immedate prior comment was meant to be positive support of more effort by you, not a deep critique of the present images. I wasn't even aware that some of the images on the article at that point were taken by you. — Lentower (talk) 10:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Taken, or provided. I could make a case for 8: the two postcards (from eBay), the two Jet Lowe images (from HAER) and four images by me myself (infobox image, two others with the Jet Lowe images, one of a Smoot mark with sailboat). Perhaps, by the time I get back, the lighting will have been updated and I can take images of that. It'll take an image during the day (lighting in place, unlit, maybe) and a few at night, showing the results. - Denimadept (talk) 19:35, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

{{sfn}} use?[edit]

I think this article would be better if we used {{sfn}}. Any thoughts? - Denimadept (talk) 20:22, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

I just modified the article using {{sfn}} for the Alger & Matthews references. Maybe more later. - Denimadept (talk) 05:34, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

Harvard Bridge naming section[edit]

Transferred from User talk:EEng

I really don't agree with your removal of this. There are people who specifically look for this, and changing it the way you have makes it both harder to find and less interesting. - Denimadept (talk) 21:46, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

I wish you'd bring article-specific concerns to the talk page of the article instead of here. If you're talking about removal of the MIT-related stuff, based on the talk page it looks like it's remained unreferenced for a decade or more. If you're talking about moving the two remaining sentence out of their own section, well, a two-sentence section looks silly. As you'll have seen by now I did add a ===-level heading to set off this information. I hope that's OK. EEng 22:15, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
When I have something to discuss with a specific person, such as an edit, I do it in private, on their Talk page rather than in public. The other bit, about the MIT stuff, well, do you really believe that MIT students don't have any issues with something named "Harvard" on their doorstep? Look at older versions of the article to see previous versions of this. I don't live in Massachusetts, so I have problems getting to MIT for access to archives. But, a quick Google search yields this. What really gets me is how many people paraphrase the WP article when doing their own write-ups. And there are Yelp reviews of the bridge, too. - Denimadept (talk) 22:46, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but despite your preference I've transferred this to the article's talk page, because that's where others interested in the article will see it. These discussions are supposed to be public.
The MIT material I removed is here [1]. That the Harvard Bridge leads to MIT is something you can get a chuckle with when taking out-of-town friends around, but whether MIT students "have a problem" with the name, I really don't know, and I doubt anyone else does either. Even supposing we could take Journal of the Institute for Hacks, Tomfoolery, and Pranks at MIT as a RS, which we could only do with great care, I don't see anything at your link that would be useful in the article anyway. A statements like "When the Harvard Bridge was closed for renovations in 1924, 1949, and 1986, proposals were submitted to rename the bridge for MIT. Each time, however, the proposed name change did not make it through the long political process required" is so vague, and obviously suspect, as to be useless. And of course the Smoot story is well documented elsewhere. EEng 23:51, 9 July 2017 (UTC)