Hemenway Gymnasium was designed for Harvard University by Boston-based Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch and Abbott and opened in 1940; it is the second building on Harvard's campus with this name. The building was used during World War II as an underwater sound laboratory and later reconverted to a gymnasium. The construction of the gymnasium was funded by the university. The site is named for Augustus Hemenway (A.B. 1875), Boston philanthropist and Harvard overseer. Hemenway had donated the funds for the original gymnasium structure, built in 1878, which stood nearby.