Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Nutting House

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Institution Name: Carleton College
Original/Historic Place Name: Nutting House
Location on Campus: 217 Union St. S.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1888original construction Cook, J. E.
1912addition of porch Unknown
1917interior remodeled Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: limestone
Walls: brick
Roof: asphalt shingle
1888private residence (of John Claudius and Calista Morse Nutting)
ca. 1970-present (2007)president's house (given to Carleton in 1970 by original resident's granddaughters)

Significance: architecture, culture
Landmark designation:
National RegisterJohn C. Nutting House (1970)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Contemporary newspaper reports referred to the house as "one of the finest in the city." It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 due to its status as the only remaining example of a brick home of its size and period, and as a well-known landmark in the community because of the high regard in which the Nutting Family was held. The Nutting family has been associated with Carleton College since its founding. John C. Nutting was a college trustee, and through his leadership of the First National Bank provided a strong link between Carleton and Northfield. His son John D. Nutting graduated from Carleton in 1906, and in 1916 he married Elizabeth Adams, a teacher at Carleton. John D. Nutting was also the president of the First National Bank and served as a trustee of Carleton. The two Nutting daughters, Helen and Ruth, graduated from Carleton in 1940 and 1942 respectively. After John and Elizabeth died in the late 1960s, the Nutting sisters gave their home to Carleton College for use as a residence for its presidents. President Howard Swearer and his family were the first college residents, and it has been used by Presidents Robert Edwards, Stephen Lewis, and Robert Oden and their families in the succeeding years.

The house is of typical 19th century wood frame construction with an exterior white brick veneer wall two stories high over a full basement of local limestone with a two story attic. A subsidiary wing (the Wood House) one and one-half stories high with basement adjoins the house on the north end. Shingles are of red asphalt and all openings are trimmed with red sandstone. An early hot air system was replaced by hot water. There are seven principal rooms on the first floor and six on the second. Room finishes include white oak, red oak, ash, birch, cherry, and redwood. J.C. Nutting made a trip to the West while the house was underway and brought back a wide variety of wood so that each room could have a distinct wood trim with furnishings to match. Family tradition also holds that he actively revised the architect's drawings, both on the exterior with a higher roof, and with the addition of some 30 cupboards and closets not shown on the original plans. In about 1917 the original two parlors were combined into one living room, and in 1912 a 56 foot long by 12 foot wide screened porch was added along the east side of the house. Above it is a smaller porch 25 x 12 feet.

The original two story high west entrance porch has been modified with the upper porch removed. It could be rebuilt from the existing plans. Although the fireplace mantels have been removed they are thought to be in attic storage and photographs exist of the original intentions.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Cavin, Brooks. The Nutting House [Carleton College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1970.

Carleton College Database (2006). Carleton College Facilities, Management and Planning Office. Carleton College, Northfield, MN.

Headley, Leal A., and Merrill E. Jarchow. Carleton: The First Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1966.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Carleton Moves Confidently Into Its Second Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1992.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Educator, Idealist, Humanitarian, Donald J. Cowling. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. In Search of Fulfillment: Episodes in the Life of D. Blake Steward. St. Paul, MN: North Central Publishing Company, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Private Liberal Arts Colleges in Minnesota: Their History and Contributions. Saint Paul, MN: Historical Society, 1973.

Jarchow, Merrill E, and David H. Porter. Carleton Remembered 1909-1986. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

Leonard, Delvan L. The History of Carleton College. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1904.

Pearson, Marjorie, and Charlene K. Roise, Carleton College Campus: An Historical Survey. Minneapolis, MN: Hess, Roise and Company, 2001.

Soth, Lauren. Architecture at Carleton: A Brief History and Guide. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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