map
Hale House (pitched roof portion on the right of South Colonnade), early 1900s
Union College Schaffer Library Postcard Collection
map
Hale House, lower middle right,
with garden behind, circa 1900

Union College Schaffer Library,
Special Collections Picture File

The Perkins family lived in the faculty apartment of South Colonnade, which had been occupied previously, although briefly, by a number of other professors and administrators including College President Eliphalet Nott. Constructed in 1815, South Colonnade in its early years contained recitation rooms, laboratories, the College chapel, Phi Beta Kappa meeting space, and administrative offices. Professor Maurice Perkins and his wife moved into the two-story faculty apartment in 1865, and Mrs. Perkins made a home there for the next fifty-seven years, raising her family, receiving visitors, writing, giving lectures, gardening, and generally participating in College life from this central vantage point.

Mrs. Perkins noted that her house, unlike many others, had its comforts even in winter. “The Book room and Parlour have been delightful, as cosy as possible,” she wrote on February 15, 1901, although she quickly added, “but nothing could keep upstairs decent. The kitchen has been a howling wilderness.” Indeed, her letters often included complaints about the house, especially during the colder months. One time. the water in the bathroom froze, and the plant room suffered due to a large hole under the bathroom window: “The clapboarding on the outside has fallen and slipped to such an extent, that it is impossible to keep the cold out.” (January 21, 1895)  Another time it was the heating system itself that caused a problem: “The gas from the furnace fairly belched out in my room Wednesday.” (November 29, 1901) A different kind of challenge occurred in 1900, when Mrs. Perkins’s grandson, Maurice, was quarantined due to scarlet fever, and part of the house, including the bathroom, had to be shut off. Afterwards, the area was fumigated and repainted.

When Professor Perkins died in 1901, his daughter Rose and son-in-law Edward Everett Hale (Jack), who was the College’s Professor of Rhetoric and Logic at the time, moved in with Mrs. Perkins. On January 1, 1910, the house was destroyed by a fire but was soon rebuilt. Rose left in 1933, a year after her husband’s death. Another professor briefly lived there, until South Colonnade was entirely rebuilt as a dining hall and faculty and student lounge in 1935-1936. Named Hale House in honor of Professor Hale, it is now used for special events.