Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Caleb Mills House

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Institution Name: Wabash College
Original/Historic Place Name: Home of Professor Caleb Mills
Location on Campus: College Mall
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1836original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: wood
Roof: wood shingle
ca. 1837residence hall (for student boarders and students who needed nursing)
ca. 1837private residence (of first teacher at Wabash, Caleb Mills, and his family)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (guest house and reception rooms for the College)
ca. n.d.president's house

Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Caleb Mills was the first professor of Wabash College and is known as the father of the Indiana Public School System for his tireless work promoting public education throughout the state. His friend from his Dartmouth and Andover days, Edmund O. Hovey, recruited Mills to come west to accept the challenge of establishing a new school. Both men were trained as Presbyterian ministers and Mills had made an earlier mission trip throughout this area. Mills and his bride, Sarah Marshall, were New Englanders. Following their wedding in the fall of 1833, they spent their honeymoon on the six-week trip to Crawfordsville, arriving just in time for him to open Wabash. Only three years later they had built what must have seemed a fine two-story New England frame home on land he either purchased from the College or was given in lieu of salary. The Mills and Hoveys shared an apple orchard and there are stories of students going to Mills' study for cider. There is also mention of vegetable gardens; hence the original property was probably more extensive. Though this house has been moved four times, it is currently in its original location.

The interior of the house has been completely renovated several times with major changes made in location of staircases and sizes of rooms. Some woodwork is original and other details may just have been covered over in the past. Like all of the early structures on campus, the building is beautifully maintained and is in regular use.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Montgomery County Interim Report. Indianapolis, IN: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1986.

Larson, Jens Frederick, and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933.

Osborne, James I., and Theodore G. Gronert. Wabash College: The First Hundred Years, 1832-1932. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1932.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections

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