Blog Archives

Dwight Chapel (1842)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 Posted in Churches, Collegiate, Gothic, Libraries, New Haven | 1 Comment »


Originally constructed on Yale’s Old Campus in 1842-46 to serve as a library, Dwight Hall and Chapel was converted in 1931 to contain the Dwight Memorial Chapel, honoring Timothy Dwight. An early example of the Gothic Revival style, it was Yale’s first Gothic building and is currently Yale’s second oldest surviving building. It was designed by Henry Austin and in 1931, after the library had moved to a new building, its interior was remodeled by Charles Z. Klauder. The building is home to the organization known as Dwight Hall (formerly the Yale University Christian Association), which will be moving to a different building in 2010.

In front of the Chapel is a statue of former Yale President Theodore Dwight Woolsey.

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Skull and Bones (1856)

Monday, April 21st, 2008 Posted in Collegiate, Greek Revival, New Haven, Organizations | Comments Off


Skull and Bones, Yale’s oldest secret society, has a Greek Revival-style building on High Street in New Haven. The Skull and Bones tomb was built in 1856, with a rear addition constructed in 1882. In 1902-03, the north wing (to the right of the front door) was added as a mirror image of the south wing. It is uncertain which architect designed the building–possibly Alexander Jackson Davis or Henry Austin.

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Connecticut Hall (1750)

Friday, April 18th, 2008 Posted in Collegiate, Colonial, New Haven | 3 Comments »


Connecticut Hall, built between 1750 and 1752, is Yale‘s oldest surviving building. Located in the University’s Old Campus, its design was based on Harvard’s Georgian-style Massachusetts Hall. Money to fund its construction was obtained through the sale of a French ship, captured during King George’s War. Yale’s president, Thomas Clap, hired Francis Letort from Philadelphia and Thomas Bills from New York to build the dormitory, which would house a number of notable residents, including Noah Webster, James Hillhouse, John Trumbull, Eli Whitney and, most famously, Nathan Hale (A statue of Hale now stands outside the building). Later, when more buildings were being constructed for Yale’s “Brick Row” in the Federal style, the gambrel-roofed Connecticut Hall was no longer in fashion. In 1797, John Trumbull removed the old roof and enlarged the building. The building, renamed to South Middle College was again remodeled in 1882 and used for various purposes in the following years.

In 1900, with the buildings of the Brick Row being demolished, Connecticut Hall was saved from destruction by a group of alumni, led by Professor Henry W. Farnam. In 1905, with the Colonial Revival under way, alumni funds supported yet another remodeling, by architect Grosvenor Atterbury, which restored a gambrel roof to the building. Again standing out with the construction of new Gothic buildings around Yale’s Old Campus, a sense of balance was restored with the construction of McClellan Hall, a reproduction and partner to Connecticut Hall, in 1925. Today, Connecticut Hall is home to Yale’s College Faculty meeting room, the Comparative Literature and Philosophy departments, and a computer lab. Please take a look at today’s companion post about Massachusetts Hall at Historic Buildings of Massachusetts.

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The Ralph Ingersoll House (1829)

Thursday, April 17th, 2008 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, New Haven | Comments Off


Located on Elm Street, across from New Haven Green, the Ralph Ingersoll House was built in 1829 and was designed by Town and Davis. This early Greek Revival home was built by Nahum Hayward and a letter survives from Ingersoll to the architects explaining that the specifications, required by Hayward, had not arrived with the plans for the house. The brick walls would have originally been stuccoed or painted. The house was bought by Yale in 1919 and restored by Delano and Aldrich; some of the original furniture is preserved in the Ingersoll Room of the New Haven Museum and Historical Society. Ralph I. Ingersoll was a lawyer and politician, serving as mayor of New Haven and U.S. Representative. In 1831, he opposed the creation of a college in New Haven for African-Americans. As a lawyer, he also represented the Spanish Crown during the Amistad case.

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The James Dwight Dana House (1849)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 Posted in Houses, Italianate, New Haven | Comments Off


James Dwight Dana was a mineralogist and Yale professor. Dana was also a member of the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) and the author of numerous books on geology. His house, on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, was designed by Henry Austin in the Italianate style, but was decorated with trim influenced by India (by way of British publications). The same year the house was constructed, Austin’s John Pitkin Norton House was built for another Yale science professor. The wing to the north was added in 1905 and the house was sold by the Dana family to Yale in 1962. It now houses Yale’s Department of Statistics. There is also HABS documentation on the house.

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The Aaron Skinner House (1832)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, New Haven | Comments Off


As with some other homes built on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven the 1830s, the Aaron Skinner House was designed by Alexander J. Davis, with significant involvement by James A. Hillhouse. Skinner, who briefly operated a boy’s school in his home, was persuaded to go along with Davis and Hillhouse’s expensive Greek Revival design. In the 1850s, Henry Austin altered the house by filling in the second story, which originally did not extend so far, to match the first story. This crated a more cube-like appearance. The house was later owned by the Trowbridge family and was bequeathed to Yale by Rachel Trowbridge. It now serves as Yale’s International Center for Finance.

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The John Schwab House (1896)

Saturday, April 12th, 2008 Posted in Houses, New Haven, Tudor Revival | Comments Off

The John Schwab House, on Prospect Street in New Haven, was designed in the Tudor Revival style by R. Clipson Sturgis. Schwab was a professor of political economy at Yale who later became Librarian of Yale University. He was the author of History of the New York Property Tax (1890) and The Confederate States of America, 1861-1865: A Financial and Industrial History of the South During the Civil War (1901).

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