Archival Corner: The Story of Brick Row

A lot of people are confused when hearing “Brick Row” in conversation. Where, exactly, would you define as Brick Row …?


Most people think that Brick Row is one of the two walkways that line either side of the historic buildings between President’s House and Seymour Hall, but in actuality, Brick Row is the line of buildings themselves. Western Reserve Academy’s campus is one of a handful based on such an architectural concept.

Old Brick Row at Yale College, 1807


At its founding in 1826, Western Reserve College was nicknamed the “Yale of the West” because the majority of its original faculty members were educated at the Ivy League school in Connecticut (what we now call Northeast Ohio was then considered the Western Reserve of Connecticut). The fact that the campus was patterned after Old Yale College, as it was then known, certainly added to the nickname’s legitimacy. Amherst College in Massachusetts boasts a similar architectural design; folks on that campus affectionately refer to it as College Row. As the images accompanying this story reveal, the similarities between the three campuses are striking.

College Street of Amherst College, August ’98


The men responsible for the design and construction of the buildings on WRA’s original Brick Row were a father and son duo named Lemuel and Simeon Porter. The son, Simeon, also oversaw construction of both the Athenaeum (considered part of the original Brick Row) and the Nathan Seymour House, which strays from Brick Row and sits on Prospect Street.
Note the photos here that show the southern end of our campus in its infancy. Not only is the walkway not paved, but even College Street was a dirt path throughout the 19th century. A lot has changed since then!

Rocky College Street
Muddy College Street

-Mr. Hoffman

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