Strong House was built in 1893, designed by Francis Allen. Strong was the first residential house to be built to accommodate the growing number of students at Vassar. John D. Rockefeller helped pay for the construction and named the house after his daughter, Bessie Rockefeller Strong, who was a special student (1886–88).
The location was chosen because of its proximity to Main, as well as to the rest of the buildings on campus. The house provided 100 single rooms and a dining room big enough for all of them.
President Taylor was quoted as saying the following to trustees in October, 1889 as the decision to build another house was being made: “The problem of the accommodation of students is...a pressing one. The building [Main] is practically full; it will never again be possible to require students to room as they did in the early days of the college...Whatever may be the disadvantages of the so-called cottage system, it is now in favor, and we must in some way meet the popular want.” Its current capacity is 162 students.
Historically, Strong House has been labeled as all-women’s housing but the House actively welcomes and celebrates our trans*, nonbinary, questioning, agender, and other gender-nonconforming residents and community members.See more images in our 360° Tour