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William Henry Miller (architect)

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William Henry Miller (1848–1922) was an American architect based in Ithaca, New York.[1]


Miller's grave in Lake View Cemetery in Ithaca, New York

Born in 1848 in Trenton, New York, Miller attended Cornell University from 1868 to 1870, but departed without graduating one year before the College of Architecture was created. Cornell refers to Miller as "Cornell’s first student of architecture," and his portrait hangs in the Uris Library lobby, which he designed.[2]

Miller married Emma Halsey of Ithaca in 1876. He is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Ithaca, New York under a distinctive wrought-iron cross of his design and across from the Cornell family mausoleum he designed for his longtime benefactors, the Cornell family.[3]


Miller was the foremost architect in Ithaca and at Cornell University for many years, designing over seventy buildings on and off campus including 9 fraternity houses.[4] Among his buildings for Cornell were the President's House, Barnes Hall, University Library, Boardman Hall, infirmaries, and Prudence Risley Hall. In 1878 he was commissioned by the Cornell University chapter of Alpha Delta Phi to build them a chapter house, it was the first building ever to be designed and built specifically for use by a fraternity as their lodge and residence.[5] Among his other fraternity houses were Deke House, Sigma Chi's chapter house, Chi Phi Lodge, and two former mansions: "Greystone Mansion," originally owned by silent movie actress Irene Castle, and the Jennie McGraw-Willard Fiske mansion, modeled on a French chateau, which became the Chi Psi fraternity house and burned down in 1906.[6][7]

Some of his works in Ithaca include:

  • Edward G. Wyckoff mansion in Cornell Heights[8]
  • Clinton House, 120 North Cayuga St (c. 1830)[9]
  • Henry W. Sage mansion, 603 E. Seneca St (1876)[10]
  • Stowell Mansion, now William Henry Miller Inn (1880–1881)[9]
  • St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church, 120 W. Seneca St (1882–1884)[9]
  • 316 East Court Street (1883–1884)[9]
  • Livermore Memorial Building aka Hoyt Mansion, aka United Way of Tompkins County 313 N. Aurora St (1890)
  • Ithaca Savings Bank (1887; destroyed in the 1920s)[11]
  • First Baptist Church, 309 N. Cayuga St (1890–1891)[9]
  • First Unitarian Society of Ithaca and Parish House, 302 N. Aurora St (1893–1894)[9]
  • Elizabeth Van Cleef and Robert H. Treman estates (c. 1900 – 1902)[12]
  • Treman House, 640 Stewart Ave (1902)[13]
  • Former Ithaca High School, 201 N. Cayuga St (1912–1914)[9] (now Dewitt Mall)
  • Cascadilla School
  • the Stewart Street School
  • and many other public and private buildings.[14]

Among his non-Ithaca buildings were the main building of Wells College in Aurora, New York, the Toutorsky Mansion in Washington, D.C., built for US Supreme Court Justice Henry Billings Brown in Washington, D.C., in 1894, the Berkshire "cottage" Oronoque in Stockbridge, M.A., for Birdseye Blakeman in 1887,[15] a villa on Carleton Island for Wyckoff's father, the typewriter magnate William O. Wyckoff,[16] and Iviswold (1889) for David Brinkerfhoff Ivison, designed as an expansion of the Floyd W. Tomkins House in Rutherford, N.J.[17] Iviswold is now part of the Rutherford campus of Felician College. Miller also designed two mansions on Rochester, New York's East Avenue (The Avenue of the Presidents) at 800 for Dr. John W. Whitbeck in 1887 and at 963 for Francis A. Macomber in 1888.



  1. ^ "William Henry Miller Inn: About". www.millerinn.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  2. ^ "Uris Library Historical Tour: Introduction". Uris Library. Cornell University Libraries. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Cemetery History – Lake View Cemetery Co., Inc".
  4. ^ Blake Gumprecht, The American College Town, Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55849-813-6, p. 80.
  5. ^ "Cornell" (PDF). ecommons.cornell.edu.
  6. ^ Morris Bishop, A History of Cornell, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, 1962, p. 422.
  7. ^ Oscar Diedrich von Engeln, At Cornell, Ithaca, New York: Artil, 1909, pp. 127-28.
  8. ^ Sisler, Hobbie, and Dieckmann, pdf pp. 179-80.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "William Henry Miller Downtown Architecture Walking Tour". Pocket Sights. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Cornell University Press: Henry W. Sage House". Pocket Sights. Ithaca Heritage. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  11. ^ "What's disappeared from Ithaca's landscape since 1896?". Ithaca Voice. The Ithaca Voice. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  12. ^ "City of Ithaca: University Hill Historic District". Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  13. ^ "Kahin Center". Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Cornell University. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. ^ Poole, Murray Edward (1916). A Story Historical of Cornell University. Ithaca, New York: Cayuga Press. pp. 150.
  15. ^ Engineering & Building Record and the Sanitary Engineer, p. 49, at Google Books
  16. ^ History, thecarletonislandvilla.com, Paul Malo.
  17. ^ The Castle within the Borough of Rutherford. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  18. ^ "2701-Sage House Facility Information". Cornell University Facilities. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  19. ^ "St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church". Pocket Sights. Retrieved 1 February 2020.