by Campbell Bates, Staff Writer, December 2021
There is much more to living on campus than being able to tell your friends you live in a castle. Castle residents have the ability to eat, sleep, and work all in the same place. The Castle creates a close-knit community of faculty members and their families who share many memories.
One key part of living in the Castle for most faculty residents is dealing with bats. The bats haven’t been an issue since the chimneys were closed when the Castle was redone in 2012, but catching bats still remains a core memory for many residents. “My brothers and my dad would put lacrosse helmets on and get lacrosse sticks, and wouldn’t leave the room until they caught the bat,” Kate Harrington (N ‘00), daughter of Classics Faculty Mark Harrington and Mathematics Faculty Tilesy Harrington, said.
The Harringtons first moved into the castle in 1976, and have lived there for 38 out of the 45 years they have been at Nobles. “We lived by the tennis courts for seven years, and there was a year when they redid the Castle so we lived in Legacy Place,” Mark Harrington said.
The Castle living space was large at first, so it was an adjustment for the whole family. “You could get lost in our apartment, but the kids adjusted to it pretty quickly,” Mark Harrington said.
Mark Harrington dispels one myth about the Castle: earning free tuition from finding the pathways that lead under the Charles River. “It’s not true. They’re not going to give you free tuition, and there is no secret passage. What it does mean is that people bang on the doors to our basement all the time thinking they found the secret passage,” Harrington said.
For the Harrington family, living in the Castle had a lot of upsides, including the ability to walk downstairs and eat with the other residents and boarders. Harrington said, “Our kids were a little more vocal because we had sit-down dinners with older kids.”
From these interactions, his kids matured quickly and widened their vocabularies by learning to hold conversations. “It was really fun growing up in the castle,” Kate Harrington said. She agreed with her father: “What I remember most was eating dinner in the castle every night.”
When Kate Harrington became a student at Nobles, it was an adjustment to figure out where she fit in, having already been involved in the school in many capacities before attending. She said, “I already felt so at home here and knew so many of the teachers well because I had essentially grown up with them. They were like my aunts and uncles.”
To on-campus faculty residents, Nobles becomes a home, and it is convenient to attend community events. “We love supporting the kids—that’s an important part of the dues—but we really don’t have any excuse not to do it. […] That I think is really good,” Mark Harrington said.
One of the best things about living in the Castle is that the commute to work is only a couple steps. Living in such close proximity to the sporting events, concerts, plays, and races is one of the perks of living on campus.
Mathematics faculty member Efe Osifo has lived in the Castle for the five years that he has worked on campus. For him, it is important to be involved in the community, and living on campus makes this goal easier. “For me, the best part of it [on-campus residency] is the other people who also live in the Castle,” Osifo said.
During weekends, summers, and free time, the teachers will watch sporting events, eat meals, and see movies together. The only hard part for Osifo is not being able to live in the city.
But still, “Being able to go to other apartments to get eggs or a shovel is a really cool part of living here that doesn’t get talked about a lot. You can lean on everybody and it’s really nice to have a family away from my family,” Osifo said.
Living in the Castle can, however, pose the challenge of separating home life from Nobles life. “There are times when it’s nice to get away from work,” Mark Harrington said. Osifo has found ways around spending too much time on campus, and goes to a gym off-campus and visits friends as much as possible.
The Castle residents are more familiar with the school, but Harrington said, “It can get tiring to be the host all the time.” Fortunately, the Buildings and Grounds crews and FLIK staff take care of the Castle and its residents. A lot of work goes into the upkeep of the Castle, but it’s all worth it for the amazing memories of the residents.