Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


North and South College

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Institution Name: Union College (NY)
Original/Historic Place Name: North and South College
Location on Campus: North Ln. and South Ln.
Date(s) of Construction:
1814original construction Ramée, Joseph-Jacques
Designer: Joseph-Jacques Ramée
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: masonry, stucco
Roof: slate
ca. 1814other (faculty residence)
ca. 1814administration
ca. 1814classrooms
1814-present (2006)residence hall

North and South Colleges were two of the original buildings on the new campus of Union College. Construction of the buildings began in 1812 and was completed by 1814. At the time of their completion, they were the only two buildings on the campus and served as dormitories for students and faculty, classrooms, and administrative offices. The buildings have remained continually occupied since 1814, with the exception of periodic renovations. The Colleges are currently being renovated to accommodate a new housing system designed to promote community, living/learning opportunities, and faculty interaction in residential life.

Although not conceived by Ramée, North and South Colleges were incorporated into his master plan for the campus. The two colleges are the oldest extant edifices on campus, and South College is purported to be the oldest continually occupied dormitory in New York State. Most of Union College's oldest alumni have lived in either of the two buildings, including Chester Arthur and William Seward.


Bush-Brown, Albert. "Image of a University: A Study of Architecture as an Expression of Education at Colleges and Universities in the United States between 1800 and 1900." Ph. D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1958.

Hislop, Codman. Eliphalet Nott. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1971.

Hislop, Codman, and Harold A. Larrabee. "Joseph-Jacques Ramee and the Building of North and South Colleges." Union Alumni Monthly 27 (February 1938): 110-27.

Klauder, Charles Z., and Herbert C. Wise. College Architecture in America and Its Part in the Development of the Campus. New York; London: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929.

Larrabee, Harold A. Joseph-Jacques Ramée and America's First Unified College Plan. Franco-American Pamphlet Series, no. 1. New York: American Society of the French Legion of Honor, 1934.

Raymond, Andrew Van Vranken. Union University: Its History, Influence, Characteristics and Equipment: With the Lives and Works of Its Founders, Benefactors, Officers, Regents, Faculty, and the Achievements of Its Alumni. New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.

Schuyler, Montgomery. "The Architecture of American Colleges: IX. Union, Hamilton, Hobart, Cornell and Syracuse." Architectural Record 30 (December 1911): 549-73.

Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.


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