Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


President's House

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Institution Name: Williams College
Original/Historic Place Name: Samuel Sloane House
Location on Campus: 936 Main St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1801-1802original construction Unknown
1881-1882expansion Unknown
1907renovation Unknown
1961renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: wood
Roof: slate
1802-1858private residence
1858-present (2007)president's house

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

This house was originally built in 1801 as the residence of Samuel Sloan, a wealthy general, tavern owner, blacksmith, and farmer. It passed through several hands before 1858, when Nathan Jackson, a generous Williams benefactor, donated the funds to purchase the home to serve as the college's President's House. Mark Hopkins (1802-1887) was the first of the college's presidents to live here, and all have resided in this home since.

In addition to its fine overall Federal styling, this house features a lovely piece of applied decoration in a panel above the door. The panel, picturing two hearts connected by a chain, was carved in Boston and shipped via river and cart to Williamstown. Because of this decoration, many believe that Sloan built the house as a wedding gift for one of his daughters.

Major renovation of this home included alterations and enlargements made in 1881/2, and other renovations and restorations undertaken in 1907 and 1961.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Lewis, R. Cragin, ed. Williams 1793-1993: A Pictorial History. Williamstown, MA: Williams College Bicentennial Commission, 1993.

Nixon, Stanley P. President's House [Williams College]. Historic American Buildings Survey photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1940.

Rudolph, Frederick. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956.

Rudolph, Frederick. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872. Reprint, with an appendix by the author, "Williams College 1793-1993: Three Eras, Three Cultures," Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 1996.

Spring, Leverett Wilson. History of Williams College. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917.

Stoddard, Whitney. Reflections on the Architecture of Williams College. Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 2001.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections

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