East Professors’ House on South University

Professors’ House

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

, 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

, 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

, 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of Regents, appropriating a sum of money to pay office rent for the Superintendent and Building Committee, is here rescinded.

, 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 completed 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

Professors’ House facing the center of campus
(This is the west house on North University)

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

The east Professors’ House on South University stood vacant from 1840-1843, and was used for miscellaneous purposes. It might have been in the basement of this house that the janitor, Patrick Kelly was permitted to live.

ca. 1842
Patrick Kelly

Regent’s Proceedings, April 5, 1842 p. 233

Dr. Pitcher presented an application of Patrick Kelly, Janitor of the University Buildings for leave to occupy the basement of one of the Professors’ Houses at Ann Arbor, and, on motion, the request was granted, if the occupation of said room did not affect the insurance.

ca. 1843-1846
Alpheus Felch

Alpheus Felch was born in 1804 in Limerick, York County, Maine. He attended Phillips Academy, Exeter, N.H., and graduated from Bowdoin College. He studied law and practiced in Houlton, Maine from 1830 until 1833, when he moved to Monroe, Michigan. He continued to practice law from 1835-1837, then served as a member of the State House of Representatives; state bank commissioner 1838-1839; state auditor general 1842; associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court 1842-1845; Governor of Michigan 1846-47; United States Senator 1847-1853. He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 13, 1896.

Regent’s Proceedings, August 8, 1843 p. 267

Resolved, That the Honorable Alpheus Felch, a member ex-officio, of this Board, be authorized to occupy one of the buildings intended for the residence of the Professors and now vacant, such occupation to continue during the pleasure of the Board.

Resolved, That the rent of said building be fixed at such sum as the Rev. Mr. Allen, a member of the board may deem reasonable.

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.

Regent’s Proceedings April 26, 1846 p. 336

That the house was leased to his Excellency Gov. Felch and has been occupied by him since the month of October, 1843. Your Committee settled upon rents at $150 per annum. $300 have been received in full payment for two years rent expiring October last. All which is submitted.

Resolved, That Professor Whedon be paid the amount of rent for the house occupied by Governor Felch which has accrued since Mr. Whedon’s arrival and readiness to assume his post as professor in the University

Daniel B. Whedon

Regent’s Proceedings, August 5, 1845 p. 320

Resolved, That Daniel D. Whedon be and he is hereby appointed Professor of Logic, Rhetoric, and the Philosophy of History in the University of Michigan.

Reverend Daniel B. Whedon, (Hamilton ‘08), taught at Wesleyan for ten years, as professor of logic, rhetoric, and the philosophy of history. He was a Methodist and became an outspoken abolitionist. Whedon was dismissed in 1851 because he was active in antislavery speaking.

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

, 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.

Regent's Proceedings, December 1851 p. 502

Rev. D. D. Wheldon was removed from his Professorship.

Erastus & Mary Frances Haven

Erastus Haven was appointed Professor of Latin Language and Literature in 1852. In 1854 he was switched to history and rhetoric. A Methodist clergyman and Wesleyan graduate he was an academic principal in the East before coming to Michigan. Haven left in 1856 for Boston to become editor of the “Zion’s Herald."

Erastus Otis Haven
Mary Frances Haven


Regent’s Proceedings, October 1854 p. 581

President Tappan’s salary was $2000. Professors Williams, Haven, and Boise salary was $1,000 plus the use of the Professors' House. Professors Fasquelle, Winchell, Brunnow and Frieze received $1,000 plus $150 house rent.

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.

ca. 1856-1858
William P. Trowbridge

Regent’s Proceedings, May 1856 p. 639

William P. Trowbridge was elected Professor of mathematics in the Scientific Department - salary $1,500

ca. 1858-1860
Henry and Anna Frieze

Henry Frieze was Professor of Latin Language and Literature from 1854 to 1889. Frieze was born in Boston and educated at Brown. A much beloved teacher, he served as president pro tempore from 1869-71 and later as acting president from June 1880 until February 1882. Among his many lasting services to the University was his active role in founding the University Musical Society and starting the University’s Fine Arts collection.

Henry Simmons Frieze


In 1860, Henry Frieze built a home on Washtenaw Avenue.  He moved back to the east Professors' House on South University when he became President pro tempore from 1868 to 1870.

Henry Simmons Frieze

James Clements

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,

Resolved, 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.

Resolved, 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, December 17, 1861 p. 970

Regent McIntyre from the Finance Committee, reported that by authority of a resolution of the Board adopted at the last meeting of the University dwelling house lately occupied by Professor Frieze, had been rented to James Clements, and presented the lease thereof.

ca. 1864
Professor Chapin

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.

Regent’s Proceedings, March 1864 p. 28

President Haven, from the Executive Committee, reported that the unoccupied dwelling house on the south side of the grounds had been rented to Professor Chapin for one year from the first of May next, at rent of two hundred and fifty dollars per annum.

ca. 1866
J. H. Burleson

Regent’s Proceedings, March 28, 1866 p. 133

Resolved, That the Secretary of this Board, and the Steward of the University, J. H. Burleson, in addition to his present salary, be allowed the use of the house and lot belonging to the University, now occupied by J. Clements, as soon as the same shall be vacated, upon condition that he shall keep the same insured in some reliable Company, at his own expense.  (Did Clements occupy the house again after Chapin's one year lease - May 1864 - May 1865?)

Burleson was appointed Steward October 15, 1859 with a salary of $400.

ca. 1869-1877
Henry & Anna Frieze

Regent’s Proceedings, March 25, 1868 p. 264

Regent Walker moved that if the southeast University dwelling house shall become vacant the preference shall be given to Professor Frieze to occupy the same at the usual annual rent, which was adopted.

Regent’s Proceedings, September 28, 1868 p. 308

The President stated that the dwelling to be occupied by Professor Frieze needed some repairs.

Regent’s Proceedings, August 19, 1869 p. 344

Statement with vouchers amounting to $330.08 from J. H. Burleson, for cash paid by him for repairs, painting, papering, etc., in north-east dwelling, which was referred to the Executive Committee.

Regent’s Proceedings, September 21, 1869 p. 355

Regent Walker, on behalf of the Executive Committee reported adversely to the claims of Mr. J. H. Burleson for repairs made on the dewlling house lately occupied by him.

Regent’s Proceedings
, March 31, 1869 p. 321

On motion of Regent Gilbert, the sum of $100 was appropriated from the State Aid Fund for repairs to the dwelling now occupied by Prof. Frieze.

Henry Simmons Frieze

From 1869-1871 Henry S. Frieze was President pro tempore. He did not move into the President’s House, preferring to emphasize the temporary appointment by remaining in his own home next door. Frieze also served as acting President from June 1880 until February 1882. Henry Frieze died in 1889.

Regent’s Proceedings
, June 26, 1871 p. 103

, That the salary of Acting President Henry S. Fireze from and after the first day of August next, be fixed at $2,500 per annum, and the rent of the house now occupied by him.

Henry Frieze was the last professor to occupy the east Professors' House on South University.

College of Dental Surgery

The east Professors’ House on South University was occupied by the College of Dental Surgery from 1877 until 1891. In 1877, a large brick addition was made to the building. In 1891 the College of Dental Surgery moved to the Pavilion Hospital on North University.



Engineering Building

In 1891 the engineers were given the use of the building vacated by the Dental College. A third story was added and the entrance was moved to the west side of the new part and the word “Engineering” was placed over the doorway. There were fifteen classrooms and several offices. The building continued in use until 1922 when it was removed to make room for the Clements Library. Only the western tier of rooms was torn away from the old building to begin with, as the library was not to occupy exactly the old site.