Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
President's House

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Institution Name: Alma College
Original/Historic Place Name: President's House
Location on Campus: Superior St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1927original construction Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton Architects
Designer: Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton Architects, Chicago
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: unknown
Walls: red brick with white sandstone trimming and cream-painted wood
Roof: shingles
 
Function:
1927-present (2006)president's house
 

Narrative:
Built in 1927 at a cost of $36,000, the President's House provides an on-campus residence for the president and the president's family. From 1894-1927 colleges presidents resided in what is now the Alumni House. When Harry Means Crooks became president in 1915, however, the needs of his larger family prompted the Board to investigate a more spacious residence.

Pledges totaling $23,000 to underwrite construction costs were soon raised from trustees and friends. Among the larger gifts were those from Mrs. J. Henry Lancashire ($10,000) and Mrs. Oren Scotten ($5,000). The delicate nature of the fundraising is mentioned in the President's Report of 1927: "If the members of the Board of Trustees could put this matter before certain friends of the institution, the president's modesty would not be under so much of a strain."

The Owen, Ames, Kimball Company was contracted to build the home, which would have an electric refrigerator, papered walls, and "a very handsome, complete set of dining room furniture" donated by Mr. and Mrs. Bahlke. The three-story, red brick colonial revival has trimmings of white sandstone and cream painted wood. It was located in a grove of trees, formerly a popular picnic spot for students and faculty. The home became the site of frequent receptions for alumni, current students, parents, faculty, and friends.
 

References:

Alma College Trustees Report. Alma College: Alma, MI, [n.d.].

Facilities Notebook Catalogue of Alma College. 1899. Archives, Alma College, Alma, MI.

Within Our Bounds: A Centennial History of Alma College. [Alma, MI?: s.n., 1986].

 

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Last update: November 2006