Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Merrill House

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Institution Name: Colgate University
Original/Historic Place Name: President’s House
Location on Campus: Eastern Edge of Campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1899-1900original construction Quick, Edwin A.
Designer: Edwin A. Quick
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: frame and stone, shingle exterior
Roof: shingle
1900-1962president's house
1962-present (2006)other (faculty club)

Merrill House was built for $28,000 to replace the Ann Smith Masters House, which had served as the President's residence from its acquisition in 1868. It is one of the most architecturally distinguished buildings on campus. Its strengths are threefold. First, its siting is quite unusual in that it is the only structure on campus that uses the hillside to turn a façade toward the center of the Village. (In the past year, that superb orientation has been affirmed through the creation of a fine flower garden and terrace.) Secondly, its complex rooflines, exterior surfaces, and volumetric extrusions capture the best qualities of the shingle style. Finally, its interior retains its fine wood paneling and displays a gracious, open arrangement of rooms off the grand staircase. One of its dining rooms is decorated with a mural recounting the history of the University.


The Colgate University Centennial Celebration: 1819-1919. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1920.

Williams, Howard. A History of Colgate University, 1819-1969. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969.


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Last update: November 2006