At the beginning of the period covered by the letters, this building, originally called North Hall, belonged to Professor of Natural Philosophy John Foster. One night in 1896, a devastating fire broke out. Mrs. Perkins saw the house “burning fiercely and all the hydrants covered high with snow, and choked with mud, and being the evening of St Patricks, all the firemen tipsy and some of them shamefully drunk…In less than two hours the house was a heap of stone and brick!” (March 19, 1896). Although the house was indeed gutted, it was rebuilt in 1896-1897 using the surviving external walls. Professor Foster died soon after, and Olin Landreth, Professor of Civil Engineering, moved into the house in 1899.

Professor Landreth and his wife had six children, giving the Perkins’ grandson Maurice Hale some playmates. Mrs. Perkins did not always appreciate Landreth himself, however, scoffing when he gave a lecture on art, “I think I shall give a paper on the Beauties of Mathematics!” (December 5, 1896).

After Professor Landreth left the College in 1919, the house was given to other faculty members and later served as the headquarters of the Air Force ROTC, the Beta Theta Pi chapter house, and a social and office space. It is currently named Fero House after Franklin Fero (Union College Class of 1917), whose bequest funded renovations in 1990.


Interactive map

Item sets