You’ve heard the rumors. Higgins House is haunted (this story is still in hot debate on campus) and we heard from a friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s uncle’s neighbor that the original goat’s head from that long-ago event (yup, that one) is stored in a closet in the house.
We know for sure this masterpiece was built in the early 1920s by Aldus and Mary (May) Higgins as a smaller-scale replica of the c. 1525 Compton Wynyates Castle in Warwickshire, England. "The building materials were imported from chiefly the UK and France and many of the building elements feature traditional treatments, such as lime-cured lumber in the ceilings," says assistant director for archives and special collections Arthur Carlson. "The Higgins family also were one of the earliest collectors of pre-Columbian art from the Americas. Much of that material was donated to WAM by the family." Members of the Higgins family lived in the home until it was donated to WPI in 1971. After that, it somersaulted through purposes and tenants (some lucky students even lived there in the 1970s and ’80s). Higgins House is now home to the Alumni Association, the Student Alumni Society, the Quorum café, and University Advancement. It’s also the impressive backdrop to events and gatherings.
Almost anyone fortunate enough to enter this 29-room castle wonders about its history. The Herd staff can’t offer an opinion on the haunted aspect (we didn’t experience anything weird) and there was no decrepit goat’s head to be seen (but the brass goat’s head trophy does spend a welcome summer vacation in the house), but we found some cool things we bet most of the campus hasn’t seen.