Judith Ainlay, wife of Union College president Stephen Ainlay, shows visitors to her home the conservatory, located on the north side of the President’s House. Originally a porch, it was converted into a conservatory in 1916.
Dormitory living was something of a novel idea in the first half of the 19th century, and Union College president Eliphalet Nott decided to take things a step further: He and his family would share living quarters with the student body.
What the students thought of it we can only guess, but his third wife, Urania Eleanor Sheldon Nott, definitely had her own ideas on the subject.
In 1857, with her husband in his eighties, Urania finally put her foot down and Eliphalet relented. Four years later, in July 1861, the Notts moved out of the South Colonnade and into the President’s House, a beautiful two-story structure near the Blue Gate entrance on the southern side of the campus near Union Street.