Stephens LifeOctober 26, 200936 Cover Story
he Historic Quad is part of Stephens’ campus
that conve...
Stephens Life October 26, 2009 37Cover Story
e Ann Fields, an assistant professor
ari Dieckhaus, a senior i...
of 2

President's House

Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - President's House

  • 1. Stephens LifeOctober 26, 200936 Cover Story THE PRES REBUILD ING T he Historic Quad is part of Stephens’ campus that conveys classic elegance and architecture. Wood and Columbia Hall, recently renovated, once again provide housing for students. And the grandest building, Senior Hall, originally erected in 1841, is the footprint of Stephens College and allows students a peek into the past with its ornate staircases, paintings, light fixtures and other details reminiscent of the Victorian era. In the historic quad, however, there is one building that is often forgotten: the president’s house. For years, the house not only provided an elegant living environment for the Stephens’president, but also provided space for dinner parties and social events. The house was called home by several past presidents, and was en- joyed by students, faculty and citizens of Columbia in general. In the 1980s, however, Stephens’finances were in bad shape, and the house fell into disre- pair.Also in disrepair at the time was Senior Hall, and any extra money went torepairthishistoricbuilding,whichwasrededicatedin1990.Inthe’90s,the president’shousewasusedforguestspeakersandtheoccasionalsocialevent, but the once-classy home became victim to old age and lack of money. Today, the building is rarely visited, and attempts are cut short because the foulsmellandinteriordamage.Recently,thereisanewhopethatthebuilding will be restored, with the arrival of President Dianne Lynch and other inter- ested parties willing to help bring the president’s house back to life. PASTThe president’s home was built in 1926, behind Senior Hall and bordering LocustStreet.ThebuildingradiatestheGeorgianstyleofarchitectureandde- sign, which, according to BBC, is characterized by the feel of weightlessness or airiness inside the building, pale colors, delicate and ornate furniture, el- egant fireplaces and patterned wallpaper.The building contains 9,101 square feet of living space, which includes the extra rooms added onto the home in the 1930s. President James Madison Wood, who came to Stephens in 1912, was the first to live in the president’s house. He first lived in Senior Hall, and then an apartmentinColumbiaHalloncethebuildingwascompletedin1920.Wood thought there should be a better place for the president to live, not only to provide the president with better living quarters, but to have a space for the president to hold social events for faculty and students. Woodwasdescribedasbeingverystudentfriendly,andwhenhedidmove intothepresident’shouse,hewouldallowvisitingparentstostayinthehome because there were no motels available in Columbia.Another house guest of hiswasactressMaudeAdams,whowasanestablishedactresswhostarredin theoriginalBroadwayversionofPeterPan.AlanHavig,anadjunctprofessor and archivist for Stephens, describes her as the first lady ofAmerican theater, and later on in her career, she taught drama at Stephens. “Ms. Adams, as she was referred to, would teach for a month and then sometimes leave for a month on business. With her schedule, it was difficult to find a place to rent, soWood let her live in the president’s house.” Havig describes the president’s house as a comfortable place for the presi- dent and guests to gather. “During Christmas, the president would open up the home for Sunday parties, and faculty and staff could visit and have cook- ies and coffee.” Havig also said that though many social events were held at the home, it was still the president’s house and the president was in charge. “It was still a private home, and events were invitation-only,” Havig said. “To give the president and his or her family privacy, events were held on the first floor, and the family lived on the second and third floors. The upper floors were a completely separate living space. For the president’s convenience, Stephens provided people to cook and clean during events so the president could visit with guests.” It’s been 15 years since a president has lived in the building. Stephens tried to raise money to fix the building up, but with finances in bad shape and Se- nior Hall in even worse shape, the extra money had to go to the aid of Senior Hall. Havig explained that Senior Hall was in such disrepair that windows were falling out of the frames and it was threatened that the building would have to be demolished. Stephens hoped that the president’s house could one day be renovated, but no one knew when that day would come. PresentOtherthanfortheoccasionalstudentfilmorschoolfunction,thepresident’s house remains locked up. Because of leaks in the roof and wall destruction, the interior of the house has received some damage. Foul smells have lead some to believe mold is growing in the home as well. “On a scale from one to 10, one being bad and 10 being great, I’d say the President’s house is at a four,” said Lee in interior design. Fields has been collaborating with Ka signmajor,onDieckhaus’sseniorcapsto Dieckhaus is creating a design plan that Lynch’s vision for the future of the build “This project is just a capstone for K her designs,” Fields said. “It’s been great workwithonherproject.Ifthepresident plansmaybeconsidered,butthedesigna with students, faculty and alumnae.” Dieckhaus is delighted that her desi home’s future. “Just doing this capstone is an accom warding experience, but I would be over for the president’s house,” she said. “I w in a way, and it would be my way of giv This semester, Dieckhaus and Fields history of the president’s house, as we the home. Next semester, Dieckhaus wi boards, fabric swatches and other design “We went to the home in September a and we’ve also been researching down “The measuring was intense because th didn’t want to be in the house for a long nooks, it was difficult to get precise mea Dieckhaus’s goal is to update the hom design because it’s required for the home sinceit’sontheNationalRegisterofHist the building for its old character as well. By Rebecca Hiatt Student Life Editor dianne lynch hopes to restore historic building, but limited funding continues to stifle the project
  • 2. Stephens Life October 26, 2009 37Cover Story SIDENT’S HOUSE e Ann Fields, an assistant professor ari Dieckhaus, a senior interior de- oneinvolvingthepresident’shouse. combines her vision and President ding. Kari, but Dr. Lynch is interested in t for Kari to have an actual client to t’shousedoesgetrenovated,Kari’s andrenovationwillbeateameffort igns would be considered for the mplishment itself and has been a re- rjoyed if my plans were considered would be making a mark on history ving back to Stephens.” s have been doing research on the ell as doing measurements inside ill come up with drawings, design n plans, such as landscape layouts. and spent several weeks measuring, n in the archives,” Dieckhaus said. he home has a musty smell and we g period of time.Also, with its odd asurements.” me, but keep the original Georgian e to stay original to the time period, toricPlaces.Dieckhausappreciates . “It makes me sad to see people tear down old buildings and just put up new ones,” she said. “I’m glad to see old buildings being preserved, and I’m happy to be a part of this project and to see the building possibly becoming part of the community again.” Fields also appreciates the rich history of the building, and would be glad to see it used for large social events again. “By the president living on campus, the community will have a closer bond, and I think this will say a lot about Stephens,” she said. FutureIthasn’tbeendeterminedyetwhenthepresident’shousewillberenovated, but Lynch is dedicated to maintaining the building and someday bringing it back to life. “Five minutes after I got on campus, I knew I’d like to someday live in the president’shouse,”Lynchsaid.“Ibelievethebuildingshouldbetheheartand soulofcampus,andthepresidentshouldresidewherethestudentsreside,and that is consistent to my approach to Stephens. Being the president is more than just a job, and I’m very committed to the community.” Lynch said the resources devoted to the house must come from alumnae who are willing to contribute only to the house and from grants that will only support that particular kind of historical renovation. “We will not divert resources that could be used to fund our more press- ing priorities—employee benefits, academic programs, and student services to the house. This matter is very important to me because our students and faculty are our top priority,” she said. “We’re exploring several different fi- nancial possibilities for renovating the home, including possible grant, state, federalandalumnifunding.Wemayhavetorenovatethehouselittlebylittle, maybe we will just renovate the first floor for the time being to hold social events, or maybe we can rent out the home until my family and I could move in.We’re being very creative with our possibilities.” Many interested parties for this project are alumnae, because when they attended Stephens, the home was open, and the president would have them over for coffee and cookies, and Lynch looks forward to one day inviting people over to the president’s home. “It’ll be lovely to have everyone all together, and I’ll be excited to host birthday parties, holiday events, nice dinner parties and barbecues with the community. My family is game for living on campus too, and my daughter Annie can see it as an adventure,” Lynch said. Although no one knows when the home will be renovated, the Stephens community looks forward to the day when the president can open the front door and say, “Welcome to my home.” “I believe the building should be the heart and soul of campus, and the president should reside where the students reside, and that is consistent to my approach to Stephens.” REBECCA HIATT/Stephens Life — Dianne lynch

Related Documents