Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Hankey Center

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Institution Name: Wilson College
Original/Historic Place Name: President's House
Location on Campus: 1301 Philadelphia Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
pre- 1857original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: asphalt shingle
ca. 1905-2001president's house
ca. 2002-present (2007)museum (Barron Blewett Hunnicutt Classics Gallery)
ca. 2002-present (2007)library (C. Elizabeth Boyd '33 Archives)
ca. n.d.-1905private residence (of Christian Lehman)

Significance: education, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterWilson College Historic District (1995)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The house was purchased by the College in 1905 as part of the redirection of the turnpike around campus. The original owner and builder of the house was Christian Lehman, whose will mentions his ever-expanding house; however, no definitive date of construction is known.

The building served as the home of the College President from 1905 to 2000; probably the most prominent person to live in the house was Paul Swain Havens, who served as President from 1936 to 1970. The conversion of the President's house to the Hankey Center began in 2002 and will culminate on June 7, 2003, with the dedication. Much of the original structure has been retained, and now serves as administrative, research, and exhibition space for the C. Elizabeth Boyd, 1933 Archives. A two-story addition of 400 sq. ft. provides climate-controlled storage. Also housed in the center is the Barron Blewett Hunnicutt Classics Gallery.

From National register report:

Located at the north end of the Wilson campus, the former President's House, a two-story, five-bay, painted-brick structure, faces east onto Philadelphia Avenue (U.S. Route 11). Wilson College acquired the property in 1904; prior to that it was a farmhouse for property neighboring the college. The first Wilson president to occupy the home was Matthew Reasner, who served from 1903-1911. The house is distinguished by a central cross gable over the three central bays, which are grouped toward the center of the building. There is a three-bay porch across the front and a pair of hip-roofed dormers extending from the roof. The building is reminiscent of late-nineteenth century farmhouses in the Cumberland Valley with a conservative blend of Georgian and Gothic features.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Albert, Michael. "The President's House on Wilson College Campus." Wilson College Department of History, History 370 (Fall 1999). C. Elizabeth Boyd Archives, Hankey Center, Wilson College, Chambersburg. PA.

Longacre, Judith. The History of Wilson College, 1868-1970. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997.

Reed, Paula S. Wilson College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1995.

II. Location of other data:
Government Offices
Other: C. Elizabeth Boyd Archives, Hankey Center, Wilson

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