The board of trustees commissioned Captain Thomas Wade to design the first private residence at the college, the Presidents House. Construction was completed in 1807. When Thomas Cooper began living there during his presidency, personal slaves were quartered in the cellar. In 1833, Cooper decided that the conditions in the cellar were so unhealthy that he built a “comfortable wooden building of four rooms” behind the house for his slaves. This twenty by forty-five foot structure survived into the early twentieth century, but was converted into a shed and stable. Extensive renovations, including raising the roof and adding front and rear porticoes, were made to the house by John Niernsee in 1856. The house was converted into offices in the 1920s, and it was in continued use until 1937 when part of the ceiling collapsed. It was torn down in 1939 while the McKissick Library was built behind it.
Bird's-eye view of First Presidents House, 1872, LOC