Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Waldemere Hall

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Institution Name: University of Bridgeport
Original/Historic Place Name: William and Frances Leigh House
Location on Campus: 409 Waldemere Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1913original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
ca. 1913-1967private residence (of William and Francis Leigh)
ca. 1967-present (2007)other (first floor: a space for University functions and public events)
ca. 1967-present (2007)president's house

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

Waldemere Hall, built about 1913, was originally the residence of William Leigh and his wife Frances, who was P.T. Barnum's granddaughter. Later, Frances' cousin, Clinton Barnum Seeley, owned the house, as did his nephew, Herbert Barnum Seeley, Jr.

The grounds attached to the building were once extensive, but, following the example of P.T. Barnum's generosity, the Seeley family donated part of their property to the city of Bridgeport. The area is now part of Seaside Park, adjacent land donated by Barnum himself, and is used for athletic fields.

Purchased by the University in 1967, Waldemere Hall is currently in good condition, having been continuously used for academic offices and as the official residence of the president of the University. The first floor of the house is also used for University functions and public events.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Phase II, the Historical and Architectural Survey of Bridgeport, Connecticut (Inventory #424). Fall 1986. Historical Collections, Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, CT.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library
Other: Bridgeport Public Library

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