The three-story red brick structure located on the corner of Henry and Jefferson streets, now known as the Napolitan Alumni House, has been a part of the Franklin College community off and on since 1946.
Starting in 1946, the house—then known as the Crecraft House—was the residential building for women who attended Franklin College.
But when Harold Richardson became president of the college, the house was renovated to become his living quarters.
Richardson and his family are said to have often held events for members of the college and community, and it quickly became known as “the house on Jefferson Street.”
The house continued to be the president’s home until Franklin College sold the house in June 1976. For a short time in the early 1990s, the house once again became part of Franklin College before being sold.
Finally, in May 2003, the house came back home to Franklin College, according to Jan Schantz, President Thomas Minar’s assistant.
After a donation from trustee Jim Napolitan and alumna Sandra (Mock) Napolitan, the once well-known house became an important asset to the college.
It was named The Napolitan Alumni House after those who helped bring the house back into the hands of the college.
Since then, the house has been used to host Franklin College Board of Trustees members, distinguished guest speakers and alumni council members.
With plaques outside the doors, each room is named after different notable donors, including the Richardson family.
“The first floor of the house consists of two parlors, a library, sun room, dining room, kitchen, patio and powder room,” Schantz said.
A caretaker is available for those who stay in the house. Responsibilities of the caretaker include ensuring the guests are comfortable during their stay, as well as guaranteeing necessary supplies are available to the house’s guests.
Caretakers are often Franklin College students who stay in a separate part of the house during a guest’s visit.
When hiring a caretaker, Schantz said she looks for someone with “strong oral communication skills, solid time management and organizational skills.”
Although the Napolitan Alumni House has been a successful Franklin College establishment with what many guests call a beautiful interior and exterior since the early 2000s, not all the renovations made to the house were sought solely on a want-basis.
“In July 2010, lightning struck the house and caused a fire,” Schantz said. “Although the damage was minimal, the house was closed to guests from late July to October 2010 for renovations.
Like many historic buildings, there is speculation of the Napolitan Alumni House being haunted. Schantz said there have not been any prevalent stories about potential ghosts.
Although the house is mostly used for visitors of Franklin College, inside groups such as academic departments, organizations or Greek groups related to Franklin College are permitted to have functions, like bridal luncheons, at the Napolitan Alumni House for a fee.
Reservation requests can be made by calling the president’s office at least five days prior to the event.