Since the early 1920s, the public and private lives of Kansas State University's presidents have intersected at 100 Wilson Court.
Young children have gleefully wandered the home's halls, and U.S. presidents have slept under its roof. The presidential home is not only historic, but is where university history is made.
The original three-story English country-style house was built of native limestone in 1923 at a cost of $31,000. Funding for the project came from a bequest by Mrs. Mehitable C.C. Wilson to honor her late husband, Davies Wilson. Wilson was one of Manhattan's founders and as a state legislator, played a key role in locating the Kansas State Agricultural College, K-State's predecessor, in Manhattan.
The house was designed by Cecil Baker, former head of K-State's department of architecture, and was to look and feel like a family home, but also blend in with other campus buildings.
When finished, William M. Jardine and family were the first to move in. Since then, six K-State presidents have lived there with their families, including: Francis D. Farrell, Milton Eisenhower, James A. McCain, Duane Acker, Jon Wefald and current K-State President Kirk Schulz.
Prior to the construction of 100 Wilson Court, K-State's head lived in a variety of places, including a stone barn. In fact, between 1895 and 1923 university presidents were required to live in private, off-campus homes. The most famous of these homes was that of Francis Farrell, which still stands today on College Heights Avenue.
Over the years, the home's interior has been renovated and redecorated to meet the residents' needs and reflect the tastes of each presidential family. The Wefalds made the most significant changes to the residence in 1998 when a new, two-car garage was built and the old garage was converted into a formal gathering room.
In addition to being home to the university's president and his family, the house has also played host to a number of dignitaries and celebrities including U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, comedian Red Skelton and author Truman Capote.
Over its lifespan, K-State seniors have celebrated graduation in the house, and it has been used as a classroom. When on-campus housing for students was short during the tenure of president Acker, his family temporarily took in a group of students.