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   Douglass Hall

PROPERTY INFORMATION

Historic Name

Douglass Hall

Current Name

Address

184 Witherspoon Street

Tax Parcel

1114_15.01_28

Historic District

Witherspoon Jackson HD

Classification

Contributing

Number of Resources

1

Style

Italianate

Number of Stories

2

Material

Stucco

Historic Function

Education

Current Function

Domestic

Last Entry Update

12/9/2015


DESCRIPTION

Setting

NW corner of Witherspoon and MacLean Streets. Neighborhood school-like setting with picket fence at perimeter, flat lawn, and paved parking at rear (along MacLean).

Description

Two story cruciform plan stuccoed structure on a raised foundation. The principal volume is a gabled mass with the ridge parallel to Witherspoon Street with a narrow projecting entrance pavilion and a wider wing to the rear projecting beyond a two story shed roofed extension of the main block. The roof is clad with asphalt shingles and features a thick molded cornice with returns on the end walls. The exterior walls are stuccoed. The main (east) elevation features paired double hung windows on the first and second floors on either side of the front entrance pavilion and single windows on the sides of the pavilion. The entrance is a replacement door on the face of the pavilion, offset to the south and opening onto a replacement open front porch. The end walls feature two bays of windows, including two attic windows and paired units in the west bays on both floor levels. The building has a stucco-clad foundation that features horizontal basement windows. The rear addition is a 2-story section with similar cladding materials as the original portion of the building: asphalt shingles on the roof, stuccoed walls, and a stuccoed foundation.


HISTORY

Built

1878

Architect

 

Builder

 

History

Douglass Hall was built in 1878 to house Princeton’s black pubic school.

The lot was vacant prior to 1878, as evidenced by historic maps. The property was traded among various Princeton residents prior to the building of the school house; owners included Peter Schenck (1866-1869) and Patrick Killoren (1869-1873).

In the 1870s, the Princeton Board of Education planned the construction of a public school for African American students. It purchased this vacant lot from Killoren in 1873 for $400. The school house was constructed in 1878. Prior to this time, the AME and Presbyterian Churches both operated schools for their youth. The most famous student to attend the school was Paul Robeson. African American students attended school here until 1910, when the Witherspoon School was constructed on Quarry Street.

When the school board sold the building in 1909, it was renovated and renamed Douglass Hall. The Princeton Investment and Improvement Company purchased the property from the school board and conducted the initial renovation. The company was owned by local African Americans, who purchased properties, renovated them, and made them available to local African Americans. In 1917, the company sold the property to the Fidelity Lodge GUO of Odd Fellows #966. Douglass Hall served as the Odd Fellows Hall from 1917 until 1965. Since 1965, the property had had four different owners who managed the property.

Sources

The NJ Historical Commission, "Black Historic Sites in New Jersey," 1984; HPC information

DEED RESEARCH

Reference

Date

Grantor

Grantee

Price

Size

Notes

6075-263

9/23/2010

Burrco Corp.

184 'Spoon LLC

$ 950,000

N.S.

Burrco is a successor to Spooner Corp. Two earlier deeds; subject tract derived from Deed 2013-161.

2013-161

4/12/1976

Edward & Bernadett Grant, Philadelphia

Spooner Corp.

$ 54,000

N.S.

Same property as 1789-450.

1789-450

8/30/1967

Round Hill Construction Inc., Princeton

Edward & Bernadett Grant

$ 1

N.S.

Same property as 1731-93.

1731-93

4/20/1965

Fidelity Lodge GUO of OF #966

Round Hill Construction Inc., Princeton

$ 1

N.S.

Part of the property sold in 406-499

406-499

11/30/1917

Princeton Investment & Improvement Co.

Fidelity Lodge GUO of OF #966

$ 6,000

0.25 ac

Two parcels; also Grantee assumes mortgage of $2,500. Same parcel as 316-320.

316-320

7/1/1909

Boro of Princeton Board of Education

Princeton Investment & Improvement Co.

$ 4,510

0.25 ac

Two earlier parcels; subject tract derived from 93-510.

93-510

2/1/1873

Patrick & Mary Killoren of Princeton

Boro of Princeton Board of Education

$ 400

N.S.

Vacant lot; same parcel as the following Schenck -> Killoren deed.

Unrecorded

10/22/1869

Peter Schenck

Patrick Killoren

$ 0

N.S.

Unrecorded deed mentioned in deed 93-510.Part of deed 65-439.

65-439

6/11/1866

John N. Woodhull, Princeton

Peter Schenck of Princeton Twp.

$ 250

N.S.

Three lots; Lot #1 is the subject tract. Earlier deed reference omitted.


LINKS AND ATTACHMENTS

UPDATE

If you have additional information or corrections to the existing information, send an email to ekim@princetonnj.gov.
Submitted information is reviewed by the Princeton HPC prior to updating the database.


PHOTO FROM 2015 SURVEY


2015 Photo
East and south elevations


2015 Photo
East (main) elevation


2015 Photo
East and north elevations


HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS

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