Historic Tour: Woodrow Wilson Hall, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ
Parking: Lot 18 on Larchwood Avenue
Cost: Free and open to the public
Sponsored by: Monmouth County Historical Commission
Monmouth University is pleased to announce that Woodrow Wilson Hall will be part of the Sixth Annual Weekend In Old Monmouth Self-Guided Tour of county historic sites sponsored by the Monmouth County Historical Commission. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 5. The tour is free and open to the public.
“Weekend in Old Monmouth is a wonderful event for anyone interested in history and architecture,” said Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s Historical Commission. “The sites on the tour are generally operated independently of one another, but this special tour project coordinates the hours of operation at 45 locations so history buffs can travel by foot, bicycle, or car to enjoy and take in as many of the county’s rich historic places all in one weekend.”
Woodrow Wilson Hall, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985, was formerly known as the Shadow Lawn mansion and was built in 1929 at a cost of $10.5 million as the private residence of former F.W. Woolworth Co. president Hubert Templeton Parson and his wife, Maysie. Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer and his assistant Julian Abele designed the mansion in the neoclassical French tradition.
The mansion stands upon the precise site of the original Shadow Lawn, which was destroyed by fire in 1927. That former colonial frame structure contained 52 rooms and was built in 1903 for John A. McCall, former president of the New York Life Insurance Co.
It was later purchased by Joseph B. Greenhut, the head of Siegel, Cooper Co., a New York department store. Greenhut loaned the mansion to President Woodrow Wilson during the campaign of 1916 as the presidential summer home. Thereafter it was known as the Summer White House. The current mansion fell under municipal ownership in the Depression, and later served as the site of a private girls’ school until the University (then known as Monmouth College) acquired the property in 1956.
Woodrow Wilson Hall has been described in newspapers throughout the world, is featured in many books on architecture and art, and has been used as backdrop for innumerable print ads and television commercials. It also served as the setting for the 1982 film version of Annie. Woodrow Wilson Hall is the administrative center of the University, though classes are still held in the building.
Self-Guided Tour booklets will be available to enhance your visit. For more information on the history of the Shadow Lawn estate, visitwww.monmouth.edu/wilson_hall.
For more information, call 732-571-3526.