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Benoit & Gregory Houses

Benoit & Gregory Houses were erected in 1968 as residences for the Marist Brothers living on campus. Both houses were constructed identically: the main section, octagonal in design, contains sixteen bedrooms allowing for Benoit and Gregory to house thirty-two students each. Benoit House honors the memory of Brother Fancis Xavier Benoit who taught at Marist for nineteen years, while serving also as a Director of Construction for the Marist Brothers. Gregory House was named in memory of Brother Joseph Gregory Marchessault who was chairman of the Physics Department at Marist until the time of his death in 1969. (Source: Building & Place Names)


By 1967, the housing of student brothers was changing from large group common dormitories such as the one in the old Fontaine Building, to smaller group housing.  Marist College agreed to underwrite the mortgages for two smaller buildings to be located on the grounds owned by the Marist Brothers north of the water works road.  Maintenance, interest and amortization costs would be borne by the Brothers. 

To effect this plan, the campus north of the water works road was deeded to Marist College by the Marist Brothers.  The agreed price was $1,000,000 for the acreage and buildings, to be paid in 40 annual installments.  When the auditors present valued these 40 payments of $25,000 per annum, the amount was listed in the college books as $232,000. 

Paul Canin designed two houses, to be named Benoit House after Brother Francis Xavier Benoit, long time teacher of history and philosophy at Marian College and Brother Joseph Gregory Marchessault, recently deceased teacher of physics at Marist College.  Each house was circular in design, with sixteen rooms each holding two occupants.  (Gregory House is visible at the far right of Benoit in the photo, and seems smaller, but both houses were identical.

The original plan was never completely implemented.  Benoit House was used for student Brother housing for only one year.  Gregory House was used for faculty Brothers' housing for two years.  The houses were then converted into regular student housing, and were used until both buildings were demolished to make room for the Hancock Building. (Source: Marist College Land History: Benoit House)


Benoit & Gregory 

In 1968, the housing pattern for Student Brothers was changing from large groups to smaller groups.  Many of the student brothers maintained their residence in Esopus, coming to the campus as commuters.  The Brothers wanted to build smaller houses, but hoped to use the college as the financing agent.   Paul Canin, the architect for many College projects, designed two circular buildings, each to house 32 students, two to a room.  The houses were to be located on a bluff now occupied by the Hancock Center.  

During the discussions between Brother Kieran Brennan, Provincial and President Linus Richard Foy, the latter raised the issue of transfer of the land.  Kieran on the other hand raised the issue that the college had received free of charge an enormous amount of financial assistance, including donation of the 57 acres of the Bech Property with 90,000 sq ft Donnelly Building, 13,000 sq ft Marian Gym building, Gate House, Gardener’s Cottage ( St. Peter’s), Greystone, the wooden Marian Building next to Greystone. Kieran further indicated that he was experiencing negative vibrations from several brothers that they had “given away the college”.  He suggested that the College purchase the entire property north of the Water Works Road.  Foy and Brennan agreed on a price of one million dollars, to be paid in forty annual installments.  Kieran could then use the million figure, and the college could pay it in small chunks.  The college would finance the two student brother dormitories locally (through the Dutchess Bank – no government money involved).  When the auditors reviewed the agreement, they insisted that the college list present value the forty annual payments, so the amount of $232,000 was placed on the college books.  The Brothers would pay rental for the new houses on an annual basis. 

All in all, a win-win situation.    It was not to remain static.  The Brothers used the residences for only one or two years, after which they were converted to regular student housing. see note 43Since Gregory and Benoit occupied commanding views of the Hudson River, they were demolished to make room for the Hancock Center  (Source: Marist College Land History: Barnard Parcel

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