Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Fraternity Row

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Institution Name: Williams College
Original/Historic Place Name: Fraternity Row
Location on Campus: Main St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1869original construction; Perry House (Alpha Delta Phi) Sturgis, Russell
1896original construction; Perry House (incorporating Sturgis building) Unknown
1905addition; Perry House Allen, Jerome K.
1907original construction; Wood House Smith, William Neil
1907original construction; Weston Language Center (Phi Delta Theta) Squires & Wynkoop
1908original construction; Spencer House (Chi Psi) Purdon, James
1913addition; Perry House Unknown
ca. 1920addition of dining room to south side; Weston Language Center (Phi Delta Theta) Unknown
1961original construction; Brooks House (Delta Kappa Epsilon) Unknown
Type of Place: Building group
Style(s) of majority of buildings: Other: Georgian revival
Style(s) of minority of buildings: Modern/post-WWII
Building group type: Linear; Other: the buildings line the western end of the town’s Main Street.
Relationship to landscape:
The buildings are easily viewed from West College looking west along the street.
Ideas associated with building group:
The buildings are emblematic of the fraternity life that so organized the social atmosphere of the college during the later 19th century and first half of the 20th century.
ca. 1905Greek letter society
ca. 2004-present (2007)faculty offices
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)residence hall

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

Fraternity row at Williams College comprises: Philip Spencer House (formerly Chi Psi fraternity designed by James Purdon, 1908/9), Belvidere Brooks House (formerly Delta Kappa Epsilon designed by Daniel O'Connell & Sons, 1961), Karl E. Weston House (formerly Phi Delta Theta designed by Squires & Wynkoop, 1907), Perry House (formerly Alpha Delta Phi designed by Jerome K. Allen, 1905), and Hamilton B. Wood House (formerly Zeta Psi designed by William Neil Smith, 1907). These houses, with the exception of Brooks House--a later construction necessitated by a fire that ravaged the original house--are emblematic of the fraternity life that so organized the social atmosphere of the college during the first half of the 20th century.

Although there have been renovations to each of the older buildings, the exteriors remain much as they were during the 1910s. Weston, in particular, was reportedly constructed from a prize-winning design and includes Rookwood Pottery tiles around several of the windows.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Schuyler, Montgomery. "The Architecture of American Colleges VI. Dartmouth, Williams and Amherst." Architectural Record 28 (December 1910): 424-42.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections

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