Wellesley College- “Oakwoods” // 1902

“Oakwoods” is located on the Wellesley College campus, and seems slightly out of place as a former house in the Shingle style among large institutional buildings separated by winding paths.

2020 Photo

Norumbega Hill, where Wellesley College is sited, was once home to a collection of cottages on the eastern edge of Lake Waban. As Wellesley College grew, it acquired properties, demolishing some and repurposing others into other uses.

“Oakwoods” in comparison, was built for President Caroline Hazard. Prior to this, Wellesley College presidents were required to live in the President’s Suite in Norumbega Hall (since demolished). Miss Hazard became President in 1899 (as the Houghton Memorial Chapel was completed) and immediately set about developing the campus. This house was completed in the spring of 1902 and served as the President’ s House
until 1926, when the Webber-Durant House was remodeled for the
president and Oakwoods became the home of the Dean of the College .
Miss Hazard chose Angell & Swift, architects of Providence, Rhode Island to design her house. She named the house after her family home in Rhode Island.

1904 Image of Oakwoods. Image from Wellesley College Digital Collections.

The home is an excellent example of a large Shingle Style home with elements of the Colonial Revival influence. The home is clad in cedar shingles and stands at three-stories with a gambrel roof above a rubblestone foundation. It has a large stair-hall window above the entry portico with a fanlight above. Two later additions are located on either sides of the main home. It is now home to the Admissions Office and has larger additions for staff offices to keep up with the growing campus.

1920s photo from Wellesley College Digital Collections.

4 thoughts on “Wellesley College- “Oakwoods” // 1902

  1. Janelle H January 6, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    I am thrilled you are making a blog! I love seeing your pictures on instagram and am excited that you are making a place to read more in depth about the beautiful buildings you visit and take pictures of!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buildings of New England January 6, 2020 / 1:28 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ll still learning how to use the blog as I go. Please let me know if something is clunky to use or could be easier to navigate! Welcome Janelle!


  2. Ray September 9, 2021 / 8:47 pm

    I have not found a placename reference for Norumbega Hill.
    Is that the hill on campus with the water tank?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s