Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


East Winds Dormitory

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Institution Name: Mitchell College
Original/Historic Place Name: Patchen-Norrie House
Location on Campus: 15 Gardner Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1872-1883original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick
Walls: aluminum siding
Roof: asphalt
ca. 1872-1944private residence
ca. 2004-present (2007)residence hall

Significance: architecture, culture
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Samuel and Joseph Patchen, wealthy New Yorkers, purchased the site of this house in 1872. The house served as a summer residence for the Patchens and for Gordon Norrie, who purchased it in 1883. It remained in the possession of the Norrie family until 1944. The house is now a dormitory for Mitchell College students. It is designated as East Winds and is separated from the rest of the campus by Westomere Terrace and private homes.

This home was set on a large estate fronting Pequot Avenue. A curving drive off Pequot led to the house. The carriage house is now owned privately and has been converted to a residence. The land along Pequot Avenue was sold in the 20th century and small homes built on the road frontage. A driveway to one of these homes retains the original curving, granite ashlar entrance. The house itself is L-shaped in plan, with a mansard roof and engaged towers at each corner of the façade. A square engaged tower with a steeply pitched pyramidal roof is set at a 45 degree angle behind the northeast corner of the house. All tower roofs had finials, which are no longer extant. A one-story porch extended across the front and sides of the house. This has been removed except for the portion on the south side, which has been enclosed. Windows throughout the house have 2-over-2 double-hung wooden sash. The dormer window in the southeastern front tower has a segmental arched lintel with a broken-scroll pediment and pilasters. Dormers in the northeastern front tower have rounded hoods and side pilasters. A sunburst design is set in each tympanum. A double second floor window on the left of the central façade bay features an ornately carved broken-scroll pediment, with an oriel window to the right. Windows in the main section of the house have cornices and keystones. Gable-roofed dormers in the rear ell have trusses with scroll-cut wooden infill panels. The house is now sided with asbestos siding, except for the enclosed porch and the wall immediately above, which are covered in vinyl siding.

The Patchen/Norrie House is an excellent example of a summer residence built in the French Second Empire style. The engaged corner towers create a vertical counterpoint to the horizontal lines of the house. The offset square tower behind the northeast corner may have been added later. The overall effect is to break-up the massing of the house, creating an irregular, picturesque effect. The quality of design and workmanship is still obvious, despite alterations.

This house is also significant as part of the Pequot Colony settlement, a late 19th century summer residential community. The Pequot Hotel, which burned in 1908, was the center of the Pequot Colony. Wealthy families, particularly from New York City and from Hartford, Connecticut, spent the summer on the shoreline. Surrounded by others of their social standing, they sought escape from the heat and crowds of the urban centers. Railroad and steamboat service made this annual exodus feasible. The Patchen/Norrie house is a contributing building to the Pequot Colony Historic District.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Decker, Robert Owen. The Whaling City: A History of New London. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1976.

Patchen/Norrie House. Pequot Colony Historic and Architectural Survey. [s.l.: s.n.], n.d.

Pequot Colony Historic District [includes Mitchell College]. National Register of Historic Places nomination report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1988.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections
Other: New London Landmarks, Inc.

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