VIEW from the Hill

              Watercolor illustration by Linda Abbey, Photos courtesy of SU Archives


In 1901 William and Eloise Nottingham, both SU alumni and trustees, built an elegant Tudor-style home near the Syracuse University campus. Today this sprawling mansion is the Chancellor’s official residence, where a succession of SU Chancellors and their families have lived since 1915. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the “humble cottage on the Hill,” as Chancellor Charles Wesley Flint called it, the University commissioned a watercolor painting of the residence by Linda Abbey and published a brochure that honors its legacy. “This house reflects the long-standing relationship between the University and members of the local community,” says Mary Ann Shaw, wife and associate of Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw.

Fourteen years after the Nottinghams moved into their magnificent home, they offered to “trade” it for the more modest Chancellor’s residence at 604 University Avenue, giving SU a portion of the property’s value as a gift. As part of the exchange, John D. Archbold, chairman of the SU Board of Trustees, paid the Nottinghams an unspecified cash difference, making it possible for the University to obtain the property to use as the Chancellor’s official residence.

Designed by architect Albert L. Brockway, this stately, two-and-a-half-story, 20-room house sits on two beautifully landscaped acres with a commanding view of Onondaga Lake in the distance. A hedge and concrete wall define the boundaries of the tree-lined property, which is bordered by Walnut Avenue, Harrison Street, and Comstock Avenue. At one time the grounds included an icehouse, reflecting pool, and carriage house—which was converted into a three-bedroom apartment and garage. “Visitors to the residence are continually delighted by the multitiered gardens,” Mary Ann Shaw says. “They display a profusion of colorful blossoms in the spring and a rich variety of perennials and annuals throughout the summer months.”

Each year the Chancellor’s residence is the site of more than 100 meetings and events that promote the University and help further its mission. Chancellor and Mary Ann Shaw host visiting dignitaries, meet with campus and community leaders, welcome back alumni, and recognize students, faculty, and staff for outstanding achievements. “The house can accommodate a formal trustees’ dinner for 90 as easily as a small pizza party for students involved in community service,” Mary Ann Shaw says. “During the 100-year anniversary, we celebrated the memory and generosity of William Nottingham and Eloise Holden Nottingham, who gave the University this treasured gift.”

—Christine Yackel

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