Few, however, know the story behind that oddly attractive architectural anomaly, located next to Horrmann Library.
“Lyle’s house,” as many know it, was built in 1922 for Professor George Haas. It was copied from an earlier building on the site, a gatehouse built around 1900, when the property was used as a summer resort.
The original gatehouse was a very simple example of shingle style architecture, popular in northeastern seaside resort towns between 1880 and the early 1900s. It was situated just off the campus entrance on Howard Avenue, and the trustees planned to move it about 50 feet back from the road; they even built a new foundation for it.
The more they looked at the old gatehouse, however, the more renovation work it seemed to need. In the end, they decided to copy its design for an entirely new building that was constructed over the summer of 1922.
That’s why the Haas Cottage has the distinctive roof lines, doorways, and windows of a late 19th-century shingle style house — but no shingles! The exterior surface of the house is stucco, like the other cottages built or renovated on the Grymes Hill campus during that period.
The only feature that may have been added to the original design was a porch with the trellised roof typical of the Craftsman-style homes popular between 1905 and the early 1920s. That porch was later enclosed; Rev. Guttu used it as his study.
President Guarasci envisions renovating this house in the future to serve as a center for spiritual development, housing a multifaith chapel and offices for the various religious faiths represented on campus.