Strong House

One January in the 1880s, two students knocked on the door of James Strong’s house at 118 College Street and asked, “Might they borrow a horse and sleigh from Carleton College’s president to travel to a neighboring town where they had volunteered to teach Sunday School?”

“My dear young people,” he chuckled. He didn’t have a horse and sleigh, but he was sure that they could borrow one from Professor Goodhue, whose house was visible beyond the barn on Second Street (see photo 1).

This warm personal connection between students, faculty, and the college’s presidents has continued from the early years under Strong, when the college enrolled 480 students, to today, when it enrolls nearly 2,000. As Strong remarked in 1884, "From the beginning, Carleton College has stood for a high standard of scholarship combined with spiritual training . . . Piety is not accepted as a substitute for brains, nor a good intent for accurate scholarship, but . . . character is held to be the ultimate end of all education."

Strong built the house in 1875, and he and his wife had raised three sons there. After he retired in 1903, the house passed to one son, who later sold it to the college (see photo 3).

The house itself has changed over time and has served many functions. The original Victorian house had its wraparound porch removed sometime after the turn of the last century and replaced by a neoclassical entryway designed to match the white exterior. The house has served as both a residence and as the home to administrative offices. Currently the human resources offices are located there.

Images

Strong House Pre-1909

Strong House Pre-1909

A wide shot from the corner of Second and College Streets. The originally brown and green colored house also had a wraparound porch and a barn in the back for horses. The spacious house was perfect for the many functions and guests hosted there. | Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

Strong House circa 2012

Strong House circa 2012

As the years have gone by, the house has undergone several changes. The porch deteriorated and was replaced with a new front door. It was also painted white. The barn in the back was also taken down as a result of changing times and technologies. | Source: http://apps.carleton.edu/campus/human_resources/about/strong_house View File Details Page

Group Portrait of Carleton Faculty in 1902

Group Portrait of Carleton Faculty in 1902

At the start of the new school year, professors lined up to take this portrait. Noteworthy figures include: James W. Strong, Margret Evans, Horace Goodhue, and William Wallace Payne. | Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Madison McBride, “Strong House,” NorthfieldHistorical, accessed July 23, 2017, http://northfieldhistorical.org/items/show/14.
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