The Mead Visitor Center resides in the historic Pierpont House, which is the oldest private residence in New Haven. It was erected in 1767 by John Pierpont, grandson of one of Yale’s founders. The original wood frame structure was occupied by descendants of Pierpont until the beginning of the 20th century. During the brief British occupation of New Haven, the Pierpont home was used by the British as their headquarters and hospital. In 1900 the home was purchased by the Reverend Anson Phelps Stokes, Secretary of Yale University. Upon his resignation in 1921, it was deeded to the University and converted into a faculty club. It remained the Yale Faculty Club for more than 50 years and in 1977 was converted to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It became the Visitor Center in 1995.
The Pierpont house has recently undergone an extensive renovation thanks to the support of The Mead Witter Foundation and George Mead ’50. The home has been restored and furnished consistent with the period in which it was built. Some of the hand-hewn chestnut used in the original structure remains intact as well as some of the original floorboards. The home is complete with replica 12 over 12 sash windows made with wood pegs and glass similar to the original panes. The wood shingled roof replicates the early roof, and shutters complete with handcrafted wrought iron hardware replace those original to the house.
The Visitor Center has recently added two exhibits about Yale's history and its famous alumni.