Dormitory living was something of a novel idea in the first half of the 19th century, and Union College president Eliphalet Nott decided to take things a step further: He and his family would share living quarters with the student body. What the students thought of it we can only guess, but his third wife, Urania Eleanor Sheldon Nott, definitely had her own ideas on the subject. In 1857, with her husband in his eighties, Urania finally put her foot down and Eliphalet relented. Four years later, in July 1861, the Notts moved out of the South Colonnade and into the President’s House, a beautiful two-story structure near the Blue Gate entrance on the southern side of the campus near Union Street.
Judith Ainlay, wife of Union College president Stephen Ainlay, shows visitors to her home the conservatory, located on the north side of the President’s House. Originally a porch, it was converted into a conservatory in 1916.
The President’s House, built in 1861, dominates the landscape on the south side of the Union College Campus not too far from the Blue Gate where Nott Terrace runs into Union Street.
A view from the parlor into the dining room of the President’s House shows portraits of George and Martha Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart’s daughter Jane.
A grandfather’s clock stands in the corner of the President’s House dining room, decorated with wallpaper from the Zuber Company of France entitled “Views of North America.” The wallpaper was put up in 1934 by the wife of college president Dixon Ryan Fox.
The main hallway at the President’s House is adorned with a beautiful stairway and chandelier.
Judith Ainlay talks about her husband’s library in the President’s House on the campus of Union College.
This photograph, taken of the President’s House around 1930, is from the special collections department of the Schaffer Library at Union College.
A view of the president's house from 1880. The house was built in 1861 for Urenia Nott by her husband, Eliphalet, who was Union College president at the time.