Professors' Houses, Northeast Unit

The early history of this building, one of the four Professors' Houses built in 1839-1840, closely parallels that of the President's House. The superintendent of construction for the first two houses to be built was Isaac Thompson, an associate of the first campus architect, Alexander J. Davis. However, in August of 1839, the contract to build the final two houses was given by the Regents to Harpin Lum. It is unclear from the surviving records whether Thompson, Davis, or Lum was responsible for the design of the four houses, though they were all similar in appearance and layout.

One of the houses was used temporarily as a library until the completion of Mason Hall. Each house was provided with a woodhouse, cistern and barn and their occupation by University faculty is documented as early as March, 1840. The earliest occupants of three of the houses were Professors Douglass Houghton, George Palmer Williams and Joseph Whiting. From October, 1843, until May, 1846, Governor Alpheus Felch resided in one of the houses. Various faculty inhabited the houses throughout the middle part of the 19th Century, though it is impossible to determine from the historical record who occupied which houses during a particular time period.

In 1869, after eight years of rejected proposals for the non-residential use of the houses, the Regents approved the conversion of the northeastern residence for use as a University Hospital. Two wooden pavilions, 114 by 30 feet each, were added to the rear of the building in 1876. Further additions in 1879 created an amphitheater, matron's quarters, and a kitchen and dining room. The building continued its service as a hospital until 1891, when the University Hospital moved to new quarters on Catherine Street. At that time, the School of Dentistry, pressed for space in its quarters in the southeastern Professor's house, inherited this building, where it remained until a new Dental School was built in 1907-1908. At that time the northeastern Professor's house was torn down to make way for a new Chemistry Building.