President's Home

Agnes Flood Walking Tour

Learn more about the buildings and locations that were most affected by the historic Hurricane Agnes flood with the Remembering Agnes walking tour.


The President’s Home at 30 West River Street was designed in 1925 by Edmund Beaman Gilchrist, an architect from Philadelphia.
Photo taken in February 1972 at a “Gay Nineties” party at the President’s Home - President Michelini with Don Wolberg.
Photo taken in February 1972 at a “Gay Nineties" party at the President's Home -- President Michelini with Don Wolberg.

The house was initially built for Paul Sterling, the son of Walter G Sterling, in 1925. Walter Sterling lived on South River Street in what is known today as Sterling Hall. The President’s Home is a colonial revival brick house with 2 ½ stories, gabled roof, masonry keystones in flat arches above the windows, and a fan light in the street gable. The gardens on the property were planned by landscape architect Elsa Rehmann from Newark, New Jersey.

It was originally part of a shared Atherton property on 36 West River Street, which eventually became known as Waller Hall when it was purchased in 1964. 30 West River street was purchased by Wilkes College in 1967 from Mrs. Sterling and was originally used as office and classroom space. Beginning in the 1970s, it was refurbished to be the residence of President Francis J. Michelini, his wife, and three daughters.

The Impact of Agnes

After the Hurricane Agnes flood, estimated damages to the President's house were $50,000. About $19,343 of that $50,000 were estimated to be used for furniture replacement. All original walls were replastered and power-washed, carpeting was torn up and put on the curbside and hardwood floors cleaned. However a few weeks later, inspectors revealed that mold was growing in the tar paper under the subfloors and on the studs inside the plaster walls. The entire first floor had to be gutted and disinfected and all electrical equipment replaced. It proved to be an expensive renovation.

Darte Center before Hurricane Agnes
Before the Flood
Darte Center after Hurricane Agnes
After the Flood

View More Photos of the Hurricane Agnes Flood external website

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