Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Rosary Hall and Act II Theatre

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Institution Name: Albertus Magnus College
Original/Historic Place Name: Ten Acres, Louis and Rebecca Stoddard House
Location on Campus: 700 Prospect St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1905original construction Peabody & Stearns
Designer: Peabody & Stearns
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
 
Function:
ca. 1905-1924private residence
ca. 1924-2004classrooms
ca. 1924-2004dining hall
ca. 2004-present (2006)library
 

Narrative:
Rosary Hall and Act II Theatre are located in the Prospect Hill neighborhood of New Haven, an area that developed as a suburb between 1890 and 1930. The area is characterized by a wide range of architectural styles from this time, in revival and eclectic forms. Rosary Hall originally was known as Ten Acres, a white Georgian colonial home that was a wedding gift of Harry Darlington to his daughter Rebecca and her husband, Louis Stoddard. They had married in 1904 and lived at 300 East Rock Road (Louis's father's estate) until Ten Acres was completed in 1906.

Stoddard was president of the American Polo Association and Yale's Rowing and Football Committees, and he lived at Ten Acres from 1906 until 1915. He had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara, and one son, Louis E. Jr. His wife Rebecca died shortly after her son's birth in 1913. Major Stoddard built the New Haven Hotel (now known as the Taft Hotel) and the Shubert Theatre--two famous sites in New Haven. When Stoddard was remarried to Mary E. Andrews, he moved to Westbury, Long Island and used Ten Acres as a summer and weekend home. In 1924, the property was sold to Albertus Magnus College.

The house had 50 rooms and bears a close resemblance to Hoban's original 1792 design for the White House, adopted from 18th-century residential designs published by English architect James Gibbs, Influenced by Palladio, Gibbs was among several architects in Great Britain in the late 18th century who contributed to this pervasive tradition.

The carriage house and stables for Ten Acres (originally used by Stoddard for his many polo ponies) has become the college's Act II Theatre. A small cottage attached to this building served as the living quarters for the coachman. It has since been named for Patrick Weldon, the gardener who began working in 1909 on the Stoddard estate. Weldon continued working at the college as its caretaker until his death in 1953.
 

References:

Brown, Elizabeth Mills. New Haven, a Guide to Architecture and Urban Design. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976.

Ryan, Susan. Prospect Hill Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1979, pp. 30, 41, 48-49.

 

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Last update: November 2006