Posted by: Chris Kretz | December 8, 2008

The Campus: William K. Vanderbilt’s Idle Hour Mansion

Hunt Room

Hunt Room. Click image to see more details of the mansion.

The College moved into the Idle Hour mansion in Oakdale in 1962 and for over a decade it served as the academic, administrative, and social hub of the campus. Designed by the architect Richard Howland Hunt and built between 1900 and 1903, the 110-room mansion featured such amenities as cloistered walkways, imported wood paneling from France, a courtyard garden, marble fireplaces, and more.

And although the mansion was reinvented many times after Vanderbilt’s death in 1920, serving as a country club, a quasi-religious retreat, and a dairy research lab, it retained the stamp of its opulent birth. Hints of this grandeur is glimpsed in the corners and backgrounds of many photos in College publications throughout the 1960s, from the quirky angles of the upper floor rooms to classroom fireplaces, statuary, and ornate wood paneling just about everywhere.


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