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History of Wallcourt Hall

Built in 1909, Restored in 2016

Wallcourt Hall was built in 1909 as a dormitory for Miss Goldsmith’s School for Girls, a well-respected preparatory school run by Anna Goldsmith Taylor, an 1884 graduate of Wells College here in Aurora.

Founded by Sarah Yawger in 1895, the school had its home in what is now called Taylor House, across the street from the Aurora Inn. Taylor House was originally the residence of E.B. Morgan’s brother, Henry Morgan, and it remained in his care for fifty years. Following his death in 1887, his property soon became a cornerstone of the village’s rich history of education. In 1895, Sarah Yawger rented (and later purchased) Taylor House from Henry Morgan’s estate and made it the home of her preparatory school. Upon her death in 1901, she left the school in Anna Goldsmith Taylor’s care.

Under Anna’s stewardship, the school thrived and soon needed additional housing. For this purpose, she built Wallcourt Hall (whose name comes from the brick-walled vineyard that originally stood in its place) next to Taylor House. This same wall inspired Anna to rename the school “Wallcourt: Miss Goldsmith’s School for Girls.” The school was held in such high regard that businesses like Tiffany & Co. placed advertisements in its literary magazine, The Wallcourt Lion.

After Anna’s death in 1921, her sister Miss Kate Goldsmith ran the school until 1928, when the school was closed and Anna’s stepson Myron gifted both Taylor House and Wallcourt Hall to Wells College. Wallcourt Hall served as a dormitory for Wells College students until 1974, and, for a brief time, as a studio for MacKenzie-Childs, maker of distinctive and whimsical tableware and home décor.

By 2014, Wallcourt Hall had been abandoned and vacant for several decades, slowly slipping back into nature’s grasp. After an extensive restoration and renovation, Wallcourt Hall reopened in 2016 as the fourth of the Inns of Aurora—ready for another century of guests.

More to Explore

Called Deawendote, or the “village of constant dawn,” by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Aurora was established by Anglo-Americans in 1795 following the Revolutionary War and is today a National Historic District. Many of the buildings in this village—from grand mansions to quaint cottages—now make up the Inns of Aurora, a resort founded with the philanthropic vision to restore this special place and welcome visitors for generations to come.