Douglass Hall


  • Historic Name: Douglass Hall
  • Address: 184 Witherspoon Street
  • Tax Parcel: 1114_15.01_28
  • Historic District: Witherspoon-Jackson
  • Historic Style: Italianate
  • Historic Street: Witherspoon Street
  • Classification: Contributing
  • Number of Resources: 1
  • Number of Stories: 2
  • Material: Stucco
  • Historic Function: Education
  • Current Function: Domestic


Two story cruciform plan stuccoed structure on a raised foundation. The principal volume is a gabled mass with the ridge parallel to Witherspoon Street with a narrow projecting entrance pavilion and a wider wing to the rear projecting beyond a two story shed roofed extension of the main block. The roof is clad with asphalt shingles and features a thick molded cornice with returns on the end walls. The exterior walls are stuccoed. The main (east) elevation features paired double hung windows on the first and second floors on either side of the front entrance pavilion and single windows on the sides of the pavilion. The entrance is a replacement door on the face of the pavilion, offset to the south and opening onto a replacement open front porch. The end walls feature two bays of windows, including two attic windows and paired units in the west bays on both floor levels. The building has a stucco-clad foundation that features horizontal basement windows. The rear addition is a 2-story section with similar cladding materials as the original portion of the building: asphalt shingles on the roof, stuccoed walls, and a stuccoed foundation.


Douglass Hall was built in 1878 to house Princeton’s black pubic school.

The lot was vacant prior to 1878, as evidenced by historic maps. The property was traded among various Princeton residents prior to the building of the school house; owners included Peter Schenck (1866-1869) and Patrick Killoren (1869-1873). 

In the 1870s, the Princeton Board of Education planned the construction of a public school for African American students. It purchased this vacant lot from Killoren in 1873 for $400. The school house was constructed in 1878. Prior to this time, the AME and Presbyterian Churches both operated schools for their youth. The most famous student to attend the school was Paul Robeson. African American students attended school here until 1910, when the Witherspoon School was constructed on Quarry Street.

When the school board sold the building in 1909, it was renovated and renamed Douglass Hall. The Princeton Investment and Improvement Company purchased the property from the school board and conducted the initial renovation. The company was owned by local African Americans, who purchased properties, renovated them, and made them available to local African Americans. In 1917, the company sold the property to the Fidelity Lodge GUO of Odd Fellows #966. Douglass Hall served as the Odd Fellows Hall from 1917 until 1965. Since 1965, the property had had four different owners who managed the property.

Sources: The NJ Historical Commission, "Black Historic Sites in New Jersey," 1984; HPC information

Deed Research

  • Reference: 6075-263
  • Date: 9/23/2010
  • Grantor: Burrco Corp.
  • Grantee: 184 'Spoon LLC
  • Price: $ 950,000
  • Size:N.S
  • Notes: Burrco is a successor to Spooner Corp. Two earlier deeds; subject tract derived from Deed 2013-161.

  • ‍Reference: 2013-161
  • Date: 4/12/1976
  • Grantor: Edward & Bernadett Grant, Philadelphia
  • Grantee: Spooner Corp.
  • Price: $ 54,000
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes: Same property as 1789-450.

  • ‍Reference: 1789-450
  • Date: 8/30/1967
  • Grantor: Round Hill Construction Inc., Princeton
  • Grantee: Edward & Bernad ett Grant
  • Price: $ 1
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes: Same property as 1731-93.

  • ‍Reference: 1731-93
  • Date: 4/20/1965
  • Grantor: Fidelity Lodge GUO of OF #966
  • Grantee: Round Hill Construction Inc., Princeton
  • Price: $ 1
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes: Part of the property sold in 406-499

  • ‍Reference: 406-499
  • Date: 11/30/1917
  • Grantor: Princeton Investment & Improvement Co.
  • Grantee: Fidelity Lodge GUO of OF #966
  • Price: $ 6,000
  • Size: 0.25 ac
  • Notes: Two parcels; also Grantee assumes mortgage of $2,500. Same parcel as 316-320.

  • ‍Reference: 316-320
  • Date: 7/1/1909
  • Grantor: Boro of Princeton Board of Education
  • Grantee: Princeton Investment & Improvement Co.
  • Price: $ 4,510
  • Size: 0.25 ac
  • Notes: Two earlier parcels; subject tract derived from 93-510.

  • ‍Reference: 93-510
  • Date: 2/1/1873
  • Grantor: Patrick & Mary Killoren of Princeton
  • Grantee: Boro of Princeton Board of Education
  • Price: $ 400
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes: Vacant lot; same parcel as the following Schenck -> Killoren deed.

  • ‍Reference: Unrecorded
  • Date: 10/22/1869
  • Grantor: Peter Schenck
  • Grantee: Patrick Killoren
  • Price: $ 0
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes: Unrecorded deed mentioned in deed 93-510.Part of deed 65-439.

  • ‍Reference: 65-439
  • Date: 6/11/1866
  • Grantor: John N. Woodhull, Princeton
  • Grantee: Peter Schenck of Princeton Twp.
  • Price: $ 250
  • Size: N.S.
  • Notes:Three lots; Lot #1 is the subject tract. Earlier deed reference omitted.

East and south elevations (2015)

East and south elevations (2015)

2015 Photo - East (main) elevation (2015)

2015 Photo - East (main) elevation (2015)

East and north elevations (2015)

East and north elevations (2015)