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History of Martin House

Martin House 100th Birthday Celebration invitation

The construction of Martin House began on the grounds of the Cumberland Valley State Normal School in 1907 under the guidance of Dr. Samuel Martin. Martin House was the fourth building constructed out of the original five buildings on campus: Old Main, 1870; Stewart Hall, 1893; Horton Hall, 1895; Martin House, 1907; and Gilbert Hall, 1911, which in 1985 were honored by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The committee responsible for the house's finances held several special meetings to discuss prerequisites for the home's construction. In July 1907 a decision was made not to allow expenses to exceed $6,000. Architect Maurice Rhoads of Chambersburg submitted a design proposal at a cost of $6,009.  His design called for a 2-1/2 story brick Classic Revival structure which incorporated a modillion cornice, keystone, flat arches, 12-to-1 sash relations, end chimney, and large front porch with a wooden balustrade along the roof. The cherry wood for the home would be acquired from Dr. Martin's property in Canonsburg. Oddly enough, in later records it appears the committee did exceed the proposed amount by nearly $3,000. On September 20, 1907 the committee purchased land from J.M. Smith at a cost of $1,100 to build the home.

There have been few exterior changes to the house over the years. These changes have included the removal of the Classical urns that originally decorated the front porch balustrades, the shortening of a kitchen window, and the addition of a second-story porch on the rear wing's south side. In the 1930s the three-stall brick garage was added to the north side of the dwelling.

The Martin House received official name declaration during a Shippensburg State College Board of Trustees meeting in June 1982.

In 1983 the house celebrated its 75th anniversary by hosting a Strawberry Social on Normal Hill, which drew a record crowd of 200.  

Residents of the Martin House
  • Dr. Samuel A. Martin and family, 1907-1913. Dr. Martin was the seventh principal of the Cumberland Valley State Normal School.
  • Dr. Ezra Lehman and family, 1913-1931. Dr. Lehman was the eighth principal and it was during this time that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the school, which in 1927 became the State Teachers College at Shippensburg.
  • Dr. Albert Lindsay Rowland and family, 1931-1945. Dr. Rowland was the ninth successor and acquired the new role of president of the Teachers College. Shippensburg would be the first teachers college in Pennsylvania to receive accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1939.
  • Dr. Levi Gilbert and family, 1945-1948. Dr. Gilbert was the tenth president of the teachers college.
  • Dr. Harry L. Kriner and family, 1948-1956. Dr. Kriner was the eleventh president of the teachers college.
  • Dr. Ralph E. Heiges and family, 1956-1970. Dr. Heiges was the twelfth president of the teachers college, which in 1960 received another name change to Shippensburg State College.
  • Dr. Gilmore Seavers and family, 1970-1981. Dr. Seavers was the thirteenth president of the college and established the PREP program at Shippensburg to aid economically and socially disadvantaged students.
  • Dr. Anthony F. Ceddia and family, 1981-2005. Dr. Ceddia was the fourteenth president of the college and in 1982 became the first president of the newly designated Shippensburg University. Dr. Ceddia and his family resided in the Martin House in 1983, during its seventy-fifth anniversary.
  • Dr. William N. Ruud and family, 2007-2013. Dr. Ruud was the fifteenth president of the university.
  • Dr. George (Jody) F. Harpster and family, 2015-2017. Dr. Harpster was the sixteenth president of the university. Prior to this position, he served as Vice President of Student Affairs from 1995-2005. He also served two terms as Interim President from 2005-2007 and 2013-2015.
  • President Laurie A. Carter and family, 2017-2021. President Carter was Shippensburg's seventeenth president, the first person of color and woman to serve as president.
  • Dr. Charles Patterson and family, 2021-present. President Patterson serves as the eighteenth president of the university.
Fast Facts
  • Dr. Martin was a Victory Drummer during World War I, and he marched in all the parades in which the organization participated.
  • Dr. Martin was elected principal on May 31, 1907 with a starting salary of $2,100.
  • Dr. Martin and his family originally lived in a second-floor apartment in Old Main prior to the building of the principal'’s house.
  • Dr. Martin studied theology at Western Theological Seminary in Edinburgh, Scotland, and at Princeton University.
  • Dr. Stewart served in World War I and upon return became a pioneer in radiology, which led to his becoming the first campus physician at Shippensburg.
  • There is a tunnel leading from the boiler plant to the Martin House that the children of past residents played in during their youth.
  • Dr. Martin's children, Elizabeth and Drew, used to swim in the fountain in front of Old Main on warm summer days.
  • The historic site is the only state normal school campus developed in Pennsylvania that retains all of its major original structures.
Martin House Celebrating 100 Years (1908-2008)

Time Capsule Contents

  • Fond memories
  • Grace B. Luhrs Elementary School student artwork finalists and photographs of students during Martin House drawing session
  • Guest list
  • Guest book with guest affiliations
  • Photographs from 100th Birthday Celebration
  • History and research completed by Dr. John Bloom's HIS 413 Pennsylvania History class
  • Current photographs of Martin House
  • Recorded remarks from 100th Birthday Celebration
  • Event invitation
Dedication and Credit

The information gathered in this pamphlet was obtained from the collection of document and research material of Dr. Rupert Charles Loucks. Dr. Loucks was instrumental in the planning process of the 75th anniversary celebration in 1983, and in having the original five buildings on the campus of Shippensburg University added to the National Register of Historic Places. His passion in preserving and protecting the original integrity of these buildings is extraordinary, and this project would have been impossible without his assistance.

Special Thanks

Dr. John Bloom
Dr. Rupert Charles Loucks
Karen Daniel
Dr. Karin J. Bohleke

Pamphlet Creators

Jessie Faller-Parrett
Leonard Kim
Katie Laux
Sara Miller
Carrie Rummel

Original brochure researched and designed by students in Dr. John Bloom's Fall 2008 HIS 413 Pennsylvania History class. The information has been updated as needed.