When Prospect was acquired in 1849 by John Potter, a wealthy merchant from Charleston,
South Carolina, he replaced the colonial structure with the present mansion. In 1878,
Robert L. and Alexander Stuart of New York bought the house and accompanying 35-acre
estate and deeded it to Princeton University, known at that time as the College of New Jersey.
Beginning in 1879, the house served as home of Princeton University’s presidents. James
McCosh, its first resident, thought the house was the finest in the world for a college president
and that its grounds were like Eden.
As the campus enlarged, students began to take shortcuts across the lawns and garden of
Prospect, depriving it of some of its "Garden of Eden" qualities. After a particularly flagrant
instance of trespassing by a rampaging football crowd, Woodrow Wilson, then University
President and Prospect resident, erected an iron fence enclosing five acres of the grounds
In 1968, during the tenure of President Robert Francis Goheen, the official residence of the
President was moved to Walter Lowrie House, another Notman structure. With this change,
the mansion was converted for use as a Faculty Club and, with funds given by an anonymous
donor, the beautiful glass addition which houses the Garden Room and Tap Room was created
by architect, Warren Plattner.
In combining the elegance of a 19th century home with the versatility and services of a fine
banquet, dining and meeting facility, Prospect offers an exceptional dining experience to its
patrons. With the added beauty of the surrounding grounds and garden, which boast an
impressive history of their own, Prospect provides a unique setting for group meals, coffee
hours and meetings. Wedding receptions, cocktail parties and other private affairs also may
be hosted at Prospect.