East Professors’ House on North University

Professors’ House facing the center of campus

A modest building plan for the University of Michigan campus called for the construction of six buildings, two to serve as dormitories and classrooms, and four as Professors’ Houses.

Four identical Professors’ Houses were to be completed by July of 1840. Two were located on North University and two on South University. The two-story plan included a central hall with two rooms opening off each side. The same arrangement was repeated on the second floor. Each room had a fireplace. The houses had low-pitched tin roofs. Wood houses, cisterns, and barns were provided for each.

The houses were also to be used for the storage of the Cabinet of Natural History, Library, Philosophical Apparatus, and other general purposes of the University until the main buildings could be finished.

The contracts which the Building Committee made for the erection of these houses amounted in each case to $7,712.50 or $30,850 for the four. Each house had about 4,800 square feet of floor space and measured 36 by 44 feet in size.

Sketch of the Campus from a student letter

Regent’s Proceedings, January 31, 1839 p. 70

Resolved, That the Building Committee be authorized to contract for materials for erecting and furnishing four buildings for the use of the Professors of the University and to be used until the main buildings of the University be completed for the reception of the Cabinet of Natural History, Library, Philosophical Apparatus, and for other general purposes of the University; and to contract for the erecting and finishing the same; and that the said Committee cause to be prepared plans of the said buildings and submit the same to this Board with all convenient speed.

Regent’s Proceedings, March 26, 1839 p. 77

Resolved, That the Committee on University Buildings be instructed to cause the fronts of the four buildings now authorized to be erected on the University grounds, to be constructed facing inwards to the said grounds, which was laid on the table.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 13, 1839 p. 93

Resolved, That the Building Committee be instructed to give notice to Mr. Thompson that the contract between him as Superintendent of the University Building and said Committee is annulled by order of the Board of Regents.

, That the resolution heretofore adopted by the Board of Regents, appropriating a sum of money to pay office rent for the Superintendent and Building Committee, is here rescinded.

Resolved, That the Building Committee be requested to contract with Mr. Lum for the completion of the last two buildings mentioned in the contract in all respects agreeable to the specifications mentioned in the two first, at the same rate at which he has contracted to finish the said two first buildings.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 13, 1839 p. 94

, That the Building Committee be requested to obtain from the Superintendent plans and estimates for the construction of fences and out-houses for the several buildings so that the space between the two houses at each end of the lot shall be included by continuous fences, both in the front and rear, and equal lots appropriated for the use of each house.

Regent’s Proceedings, March 6, 1840 p. 125 - Report on the four Professors’ Houses

By an order of the Board of Regents of the 11th February, 1839, all further proceedings to erect the University Buildings according to the plan adopted in September, 1838, were suspended and the Building Committee by the resolution were directed to give notice to Alexander J. Davis and Issac Thompson, that the Board of Regents would put an end to the contract made with them on the 18th September, 1838, as Architect and Superintendent; and the Committee were further directed by that resolution to make a new contract with Mr. Thompson to superintend the building of four houses on the University grounds at Ann Arbor, and to proceed to erect those houses according to plans adopted by the Regents.

On the same day (February 11, 1839) the Committee also made a new contract with Mr. Thompson to superintend the building of the four houses above mentioned, the compensation to be at the rate of $1000 per annum; and by the advice of Mr. Thompson, the Committee on the 14th February last, entered into a contract with Haspier Lum, to erect and finish those houses by which they agreed to give him the sum of $7,500 for each of two of the houses to be completely finished, and the sum of $6000 for each of the other two houses to be finished except as to certain parts of the interior, amounting in all to the sum of $27,500, the houses to be finished by the first of July, 1840.

On the 4th of March last (1839), the Committee by the advice of the Superintendent, and being satisfied that it would be an improvement upon the buildings as well in respect to economy as durability, made a further contract with Mr. Lum by which he was to finish the exterior of the buildings in rough cast, or stucco, for which he was to receive the further sum of $250 for each house.

And on the 22d June (1939), the Committee made a further contract with Mr. Lum, by which he was to construct a terrace on each of the houses, for the further sum of $12.50 for each house.

On the 13th July (1839) the Board of Regents passed an order directing the Committee to contract with Mr. Lum to finish the interior of all the houses upon the terms and in the manner specified in the original contract, and in pursuance thereof, the Committee entered into such contract. The result of these contracts is that Mr. Lum is to be paid the sum of $7,712.50 for each house, amounting in all to $30,850.

The University of Michigan Campus by Jasper Cropsey - 1855

Professors’ Houses on South University facing the center of the campus
From the Jasper Cropsey painting

University of Michigan campus from the northeast across the “Cathole”

Professors’ Houses facing North University

Professors’ House
Facing North and South University
The University Main Building Professors’ House facing the center of campus
(This is the west house on North University)


Professors who lived in the east Professors’ House on North University

ca. 1840-1845
Douglas Houghton

Douglas Houghton


Dr. Douglas Houghton was appointed State Geologist in 1837. In 1839 he was appointed Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology in the University of Michigan, but he never did any regular teaching. While on a geological survey of the Upper Peninsula, he lost his life in a storm on Lake Superior, October 1, 1845.

Regent’s Proceedings, September 1844, p. 292

Resolved, that the Executive Committee be authorized to obtain insurance upon the University Buildings at Ann Arbor, and to erect such temporary barns, sheds, and other fixtures in and about the Professors’ Houses as they shall deem just and expedient at the expense of this Board, and report thereon to this Board.

Ten Brook

Andrew Ten Brook

In 1844 Andrew Ten Brook was appointed to the chair of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy. He was an ordained minister of the First Baptist Church in Detroit. In 1851 he resigned his chair and became the editor of the New York Baptist Register, later becoming U.S. Consul at Munich in Bavaria. In 1862 he returned to the University as librarian, a position he held until 1877.

Regent’s Proceedings, January 7, 1847 p. 358

Resolved, That the Board will consider themselves under obligations to meet the expenses of all repairs necessary for the preservation of the freehold from injury induced by decay of materials and weather, excepting stoves, and such like unavoidable uses, but that the expenses growing out of all incidental injury from the use of the buildings, such as breaking of glass, shutters and damage done by occupants, or alterations and accommodations for their convenience and taste be met by the Professors.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 18, 1848 p. 399

Rev. Mr. Allen presented an account and claim of S. B. Noble against the University for fruit trees and shrubbery furnished professor Whiting and prayed payment for the same or leave to remove the trees.

Resolved, that the sum of $20 per year for the three succeeding years be appropriated for the purchase of and planting of fruit trees in the gardens attached to the dwelling houses of the University Grounds and that the Superintendent of Grounds carry this resolution into effect.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 18, 1848 p. 400

On motion of Mr. Taylor it was ordered that the Superintendent be directed to cause door bells to be put on the Professors’ Houses.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 9, 1849 p. 416

Resolved, That the Executive Committee be instructed to report at our next Annual Meeting upon the propriety of increasing the salary of the non-resident Professors to an amount, according to their respective salaries, equal to the value of house rent provided for the resident Professors and if they report favorably, that they define the amount.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 17, 1849 p. 421

Resolved, That it be referred to the Executive Committee to inquire into and report tomorrow morning on the expediency and probable cost of erecting stables for the Professors’ Houses.

Regent’s Proceedings, July 18, 1849 p. 422

On the subject of allowing rent to non-resident Professors, recommending the payment of $50 per term to each for the time they shall be respectively actually engaged in the duties of their Professorships. And, that the same committee contract for the erection of a wood-house to each of the buildings on the University lands at Ann Arbor, agreeable to the plan furnished by Mr. Thompson. And that the same Committee be authorized to contract for a cistern to each of the houses, and to dig another well when they deem it expedient.

James Robinson Boise

James Robinson Boise

James Robinson Boise, a graduate and faculty member of Brown University until 1852, came to Michigan as Professor of Greek Language and Literature. He taught at Michigan for sixteen years.

Regent’s Proceedings, June 1854 p. 548

The house occupied by Professor Boise has been partly repaired, but the painting ordered by the Executive Committee has, at the request of Professor Boise, been postponed for the purpose of presenting to the board the following considerations. The mere painting of the wood work as ordered would necessitate Professor Boise to undergo a considerable expense himself in papering to make the walls correspond. I would therefore suggest that a definite sum be appropriated for the benefit of his residence and that he be allowed to choose how much of it shall be expended on papering and how much on painting or other permanent improvements and also to direct to what part of the premises they shall be applied. The work however to be done under the supervision of the Superintendent. $75.00 was given to Professor Boise to be expended as he may wish on permanent improvements.

Regents Proceedings,
May 1856 p. 643

, That each of the Professors of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts from and after the 1st of July next be paid quarterly at the rate of $1,500 per annum, except those who occupy the Professors’ Houses, who shall be paid at the rate of $1,250 per annum; and that $250 per annum be added to the present salary of the President to be paid quarterly as above.

Regent’s Proceedings, June 1860, p. 906

Resolved, That it is inexpedient with present limited amount of available building room upon the University Grounds to no longer rent or employ the building recently occupied by Professor Boise as a dwelling house, but that it should be employed in some way for the relief of the main University Buildings.

, That the same building be for the present at least fitted up and employed as a Library and Reading Room and that a sum not to exceed_____be appropriated for the purpose tables.

Regent’s Proceedings,
March 1861 p. 956

, That the Executive Committee be and they are hereby required to cause one of the dwelling houses on the north side of the University Grounds to be prepared and furnished for the use of the Law Department.

Regent’s Proceedings
, June, 1861 p. 962

Regent Brown, from the Committee on the Medical Department, reported that nothing had been done toward converting one of the University dwelling houses into an hospital, and requested that the Committee be discharged from any other further action in relation thereto. The report was accepted and the request of the Committee granted.

On motion of Regent Parsons the resolution authorizing the Executive Committee to prepare one of the dwelling houses on the north side of the University Grounds for the use of the Law Department was so modified as to allow the Committee to prepare rooms for said Department in the South College Buildings.

Regent’s Proceedings, September, 1861 p. 968

Whereas, The rates of rent charged to those persons occupying the dwelling houses belonging to the University Grounds are much less than the current charges for rent throughout the city, therefore,

, That from and after October 1, 1861, all persons occupying these dwellings be required as a further condition of rent to keep the same in good tenantable repair at their own expense except when otherwise especially authorized by the Board.

, That the Chairman of the Finance Committee be directed to rent the dwelling house now vacant upon the University Grounds upon the best terms he can procure giving the preference to a Professor of the University should any such desire to rent the place, but otherwise to any suitable tenant.

Regent’s Proceedings February 16, 1864 p. 17

That the Executive Committee be authorized to lease the vacant residences, for one year, at a rent of not less than two hundred and fifty dollars each per annum.

ca. 1864-1865
Mrs. Helen E. Putnam

Regent’s Proceedings, March 1864 p. 28

President Haven, from the Executive Committee, reported that the unoccupied dwelling house on the north side of the University grounds had been leased for one year from the 19th instant to Mrs. Helen E. Putnam, at a rent of two hundred and fifty dollars per annum.  (It is not clear if this was the east or west dwelling on North University.)

Edward Carrington & The University Hospital

In 1869 the east Professor’s House on North University became the first University Hospital. It had twenty beds. There were no operating or dressing rooms. It was merely a receiving home, in which patients brought in for the clinics could be kept before and after presentation to the class.


Regent’s Proceedings, June 30, 1869 p. 337

The Committee on the Medical Department to whom was referred the project of organizing a Hospital in connection with the Medical Department of the University, would respectfully recommend that the north-east dwelling house on the University grounds be set apart for that purpose.

Regent’s Proceedings, 1869 p. 366

Edward Carrington was appointed Janitor of the Hospital on the following terms:  That said Edward Carrington is to have the free use of so much of the basement of the east dwelling house on the north side of the University grounds as may be necessary for the convenience and comfort of his family; also, two rooms on the first floor, together with such supply of fuel and lights as may be necessary for the comfortable maintenance of his family; and shall be paid at the rate of seventy-five cents per week for every patient who shall be admitted to the wards of the Hospital of Medical or Surgical treatment. In consideration of the covenants on the part of the Regents of the University, the said Edward Carrington agrees to perform the duties required of him by the hospital staff as follows: He shall duly and fitly prepare the dietary for the hospital patients, as directed by the hospital staff: shall keep the fires, and wash and otherwise cleanse the rooms, and make the beds as often as in the opinion of the hospital staff as proper hygiene may require.

Pavilion Hospital

The original little hospital demonstrated that such an addition to the facilities of the Medical School was both desirable and practicable. In 1875 a legislative grant of $8000 was given for an enlarged University Hospital, contingent upon a contribution of $4000 from the city of Ann Arbor.

The addition consisted of two frame pavilions, which extended from the rear of the original little hospital. It provided sixty beds. It was poorly ventilated, originally without an operating room; it was typical of the era and was, in fact, designed to last only five years.

At first the Hospital was kept open only six months of the year, but eventually special support from the legislature, first granted in 1877, permitted full-time operation. It was, however, closed for many summer periods during the succeeding two decades. In 1897 summer operation was made the condition of continuing legislative support for the Hospital.

In 1878 the Regents directed that one fifth of the beds available be assigned to patients of the newly created homeopathic faculty. This increased the number of beds to seventy.

In 1879 funds were granted for further expansion and for the building of an operating amphitheater and a dining room and kitchen in connection with the matron’s home.

In 1881 an eye and ear ward was added - the first special ward to be erected as a separate building. The Resident Physician, Matrons, and private rooms for very sick patients occupied the original Hospital building.

In 1889 the city of Ann Arbor once more came forward with a contribution of $25,000 to augment an appropriation of $50,000 by the legislature that made possible the construction of an entirely new hospital on Catherine Street. The Pavilion Hospital became the home of the College of Dental Surgery.

College of Dental Surgery

The Dental School had the distinction of occupying three of the four Professor’s Houses. In 1905 the Dental School moved into its new building across the street on North University. The Pavilion Hospital was torn down to make way for the new Chemistry Building.