The Abigail Whelpley House (1826)

August 12th, 2009 Posted in Federal Style, Houses, New Haven


James Abraham Hillhouse, who did so much to develop New Haven’s Hillhouse Avenue in the early nineteenth century, planned a house on the avenue in 1826-1827 for his widowed relative, Mrs. Abigail Whelpley, and her sons. The main Federal-style building may have been moved from elsewhere (dating perhaps to as early as 1800) and Hillhouse also approached architect Ithiel Town to create a new facade for the house, which may or may not have been used. The house was occupied by Noah Porter from 1848 until his death in 1892. Porter was a Yale professor and served as the University’s president from 1871 to 1886. From 1866 to 1870, Porter‘s house was remodeled, by architect Henry Austin, in the fashionable Second Empire style, with a mansard roof and two side porches. Porter‘s daughters inherited the house, which was bequeathed to Yale University in the early twentieth century. At that time, the house was returned to a more Federal appearance and the porches were removed. The building is now home to Yale’s Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics and the Center for International Security Studies.

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