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President's House

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1732–1733, Henry Cary, Jr. 1786, restoration. 1931, restoration, Perry, Shaw and Hepburn

With construction of two houselike buildings flanking the main edifice, the college took on an aspect more resembling Georgian domestic ensembles than traditional English campuses. A plantation house analogy was strengthened, perhaps, by the formal arrangement of clipped hedges in a garden stretching toward Duke of Gloucester Street. The south flanker, the Brafferton, was built in 1723 from funds intended to support conversion of Native American children into literate Christian missionaries. Fivebay elevations masked an unbalanced first-floor plan with what was probably a single large classroom on the west and two rooms on the other side of a passage, one a cook room.

The President's House, to the north, was built with a similar outward form, including the dramatically steep hipped roof, but it was more vigorously formal inside, with four rooms on each floor, the larger spaces facing the college yard. Subtle manipulation of the window placement suggests further subdivision of the rear rooms. More early woodwork survives in the President's House than in the south building, though apparently it dates from the restoration that followed a 1781 fire.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.

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