Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Mansion

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Georgian Court University
Original/Historic Place Name: Mansion
Location on Campus: SE corner of campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1897-1898original construction Price, Bruce
1924purchase by Sisters of Mercy Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Materials:
Foundation: hard New Jersey brick; cement mortar
Walls: brick; marble; terra cotta; stucco
Roof: slate (original); shingle (current)
 
    Function:
ca. 1898-1923private residence
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (special events and social gatherings)
ca. 2004-present (2007)residence hall (Georgean Court College Residence)

Significance: architecture, culture
Landmark designation:
National RegisterGeorgian Court (1978)
Narrative: see below
References: see below
 

Narrative:
The Mansion was designed by New York architect Bruce Price in the English Georgian style. The four-story building has a French Chateau roof, pedimented dormers, balustrades, and ball and urn finials. Creamy terra cotta quoins adorn and emphasize the corners of the building. The north entrance is indicated by a handsome port-cochere with low hip roof supported by eight marble colonettes with Ionic capitals. The colonettes support a two-part wooden architrave separated by a space adorned with six pairs of dolphin forms. The large double entrance doorway is made of heavy glass and picturesque wrought iron grillwork. The south side is flanked by a full length verandah. There are two arched entrance doorways set beneath large windows that are elaborately pedimented and emphasized by curvilinear wrought iron balconies.

In designing the mansion, Price was faced with a difficult problem. For George Gould, a railroad magnate of considerable means, Price had to create in the midst of a pine forest a house that was to be commodious and attractive without undue grandeur or display. Gould's original intention had been to spend approximately $70,000. But as work on the plans progressed, the architect's attempt to keep within the budget encountered some obstacles, and a revision of the plans delayed the groundbreaking. Apparently realizing that none of the features typical of a large country residence should be sacrificed, Gould directed Price to incorporate them.

Gould and his family occupied the Mansion from 1898-1923. The estate was purchased in 1924 by the Sisters of Mercy to become the new site of the Georgian Court College, which was originally founded in 1908 as Mount Saint Mary College in Plainfield, New Jersey. The entire campus, along with the Mansion, has been maintained and beautified as a place where students live and learn.

The Mansion houses beautiful art treasures, most impressive of which is "The Canterbury Pilgrims," a frieze painted by Robert Van Vorst Sewell in 1897. Other artistic and ornamental features include ceiling and decorative wall paintings, bas relief ceiling decoration, ornamental stucco-work, handsome marble fireplaces, cast brass, a gilded balcony railing, and wood carvings-- all executed with exquisite craftsmanship. The historically significant rooms of the Mansion are currently used for cultural events, musical recitals, and social entertaining.
 

References:
I. Bibliographic sources:

Geis, M. Christina. Georgian Court. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

Geis, M. Christina. Georgian Court: An Estate of the Guilded Age. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Art Alliance Press, 1983.

H2L2, LLP. Campus Master Plan [Georgian Court University]. [Philadelphia: H2L2], April 2003.

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

Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, Ste. 320
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006