This building began in about 1840 as a raised cottage with pit sawn
framing. It was 3 rooms wide and 1 room deep with a pitched roof, a 5 bay
front gallery and no rear gallery. Each of the 3 rooms had a front door and
window, all with shoulder molded frames. The gallery had a full entablature
and posts with simple molded capitals. The plan suggests that it was originally
a support building for a larger plantation house.
In the early twentieth century the following additions and changes were
1.3 rear rooms were added and a rear corridor was added under
a separate gable roof.
2.New 2 over 2 plate glass windows were installed.
3.Floorboards were replaced.
On March 9, 1914, Southern University was opened in Scotlandville,
Louisiana under the presidency of Dr. Joseph Samuel Clark. What is now
called the Archives and Information Center was the only habitable building on
the site. This structure served many functions, including a home for the
president and his family, conference center, office of the president and his
assistants, girls' dormitory, dining hall, hospital, social center, and meeting place
for the University Council. As such it was the focus of campus activity for
Possibly an overseer's house, this building was already on the site when
Southern University moved to Scotlandville in 1914. An example of the
transition between the Greek Revival and Italianate styles, the five bay frame
cottage features shoulder molded door and window surrounds, posts with simply
molded capitals, and a full entablature highlighted by paired Italianate
brackets above each capital. Originally the house was three rooms wide, one
room deep, and had a gallery across the front. However, it had four bedrooms,
an attached kitchen and bath, and tow large galleries (one in the rear as well
as the front) by the time Southern acquired it. The university remodeled the
building for concurrent use as the president's home and office, a girl's
dormitory, and an infirmary.
In addition, workers enclosed the rear porch to serve as a dining hall.
The house originally faced the Mississippi River, but ca. 1925 it was moved
approximately 100 yards to the south of its original bluff location and rotated
180 degrees to face Netterville Drive. It also served as a faculty cottage and
university placement office before housing the university's artifacts.