Historic President’s House Slated for Revamp

Sarah Manderbach ’22, Staff Writer

Renovations are coming for Dickinson’s Historic President’s House, but to what extent has not yet been decided.

“There has been no discussion about the house being sold,” said Kristen Kostecky, associate vice president for Campus Operations. “That is not on the table.” 

Kostecky said the fate of President’s house depended on what it might be used for, which is still somewhat of a mystery. Only after its purpose is determined might a renovation plan be outlined. 

The cost to keep the house would depend on the “full extent of the scope of work,” said Kostecky. 

An article conducted by the Sentinel in 2016 reported the school conducted “significant inspection and analysis” of the property, as said by Provost and Dean of the College Neil Weissman, who was the interim president at the time. An architect company from West Chester, PA consulted that one million dollars would have to go into the “roof, porch, windows, and other areas,” with another three million towards “renovation and upgrades to the property.” 

At the time of that article’s release, Campus Director of Media Relations Christine Baksi said that the West High street property would no longer be used due to the college’s budget priorities.

The President’s House has a longstanding history within the city of Carlisle. According to the Dickinson Archives, the house was originally built in 1833 for the Honorable John Reed, a local judge. Because of him, a law program at Dickinson was introduced, according to the Dickinson College achieves. Many of Reed’s first instructions in law were held in the basement of the house.  

President George Reed eventually bought the President’s House in early 1890 and immediately sold it to the college  followed by renovations. Despite renovations by college president Samuel Banks in 1979, the house needs extensive maintenance work. 

According to Kostecky, in the past “The house was serving a dual purpose as a residence and entertainment venue,” Kostecky says, “and it wasn’t ideal.”  

Kostecky said the house’s use as an entertainment space is one reason it now needs repairs. “When large gatherings are present, repairs are needed to bring the building into code compliance,” such as making it compatible with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), Kostecky said.

The ADA is a “civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities