On August 7, 2002, the Department of Black Studies moved from Williston Hall (pictured upper left) to Cooper House, a newly restored and renovated three-story white brick Victorian (~1881) home on College Street. It was sad to leave Williston, which had a lot of character and history, not to mention its location on the Freshman Quad and proximity to the library and other campus buildings.
The renovation of Cooper House (middle picture) was extensive but executed with a sensitivity for the character and "feel" of this historic and wonderful old mansion. In many offices and hallways, the craftspeople were able to restore the original floors. They also saved much of the original decorative woodwork, including the rear staircase, wainscoting, and doors. The new rear addition, which houses five offices and the elevator, features decorative exterior brickwork and a slate mansard roof that match those of the building.
At Cooper House (pictured lower left), the department office and most faculty offices are located on the first floor, along with a spacious reading room for use by students and for classes. The second floor houses the Philosophy Department, and the third floor is home to faculty in Black Studies, Philosophy, German, and Political Science.
Photographs are courtesy of Amherst College photographer Frank Ward.