The Gatehouse That Became a Stevens Icon
The last vestige of the Stevens founding family’s estate serves as a powerful reminder of the university’s pioneering roots.
Many of the most frequented buildings and establishments on campus proudly allude to Stevens’ past. The Edwin A. Stevens Building, Colonel John’s Café and America’s Cup coffeehouse all bear the names of seminal figures and events that have loomed large in the history of Stevens.
But the Gatehouse may be the most visually striking symbol of all of the university’s storied beginnings.
A stone edifice comprising an arch and two towers (one small, one large), the Gatehouse originally served as the main entrance to Stevens Castle, the palatial residence of the university’s founding family. Located at the southern end of Wittpenn Walk, adjacent to the Babbio Center and the Morton-Peirce-Kidde complex, the Gatehouse was originally constructed circa 1835 using rocks quarried right from the property. Its regal aesthetic – befitting of a grand hilltop estate – is immediately evident in craftsmanship of the original masons and the artistry of the crenellated features adorning the towers.
Over the years the Gatehouse has served as a residence for faculty and staff, a student information center and headquarters for the Stevens Campus Security.
In 2019, the Gatehouse was disassembled stone by stone to allow for construction of a major new campus infrastructure project. The importance of restoring the Gatehouse later to its original condition and location was noted during a careful disassembling process created to preserve the structure. Using a letter and number grid system, all stones were numbered, removed and individually wrapped for storage offsite.
When the university’s Student Housing and University Center is completed in 2021, the Gatehouse will then be reassembled with all the original architectural features in place, including a distinctive heart-shaped stone that sits on the bottom right corner of the iconic structure.
“The Gatehouse’s presence on campus cannot be overstated; it’s historically significant,” says senior project manager Richard Snyder. “It’s architecturally significant as a traditional form of architecture and, more importantly, it’s historically significant as the last remaining structure of the Stevens family estate and the traditional entryway to the university.”
Although the Stevens family’s castle-like estate no longer stands, the Gatehouse continues to serve as a powerful reminder of the pioneering family of inventors who occupied Castle Point and brought a legacy of innovation to the university they created.
Thanks to careful preservation, it will continue to do so for years to come.