When Prospect was acquired in 1849 by John Potter, a wealthy merchant from Charleston, South Carolina, he replaced the colonial structure with the present mansion. In 1878, Robert L. and Alexander Stuart of New York bought the house and accompanying 35-acre estate and deeded it to Princeton University, known at that time as the College of New Jersey.
Beginning in 1879, the house served as home of Princeton University’s presidents. James McCosh, its first resident, thought the house was the finest in the world for a college president and that its grounds were like Eden.
As the campus enlarged, students began to take shortcuts across the lawns and garden of Prospect, depriving it of some of its "Garden of Eden" qualities. After a particularly flagrant instance of trespassing by a rampaging football crowd, Woodrow Wilson, then University President and Prospect resident, erected an iron fence enclosing five acres of the grounds in 1904.
In 1968, during the tenure of President Robert Francis Goheen, the official residence of the President was moved to Walter Lowrie House, another Notman structure. With this change, the mansion was converted for use as a Faculty Club and, with funds given by an anonymous donor, the beautiful glass addition which houses the Garden Room and Tap Room was created by architect, Warren Plattner.
In combining the elegance of a 19th century home with the versatility and services of a fine banquet, dining and meeting facility, Prospect offers an exceptional dining experience to its patrons. With the added beauty of the surrounding grounds and garden, which boast an impressive history of their own, Prospect provides a unique setting for group meals, coffee hours and meetings. Wedding receptions, cocktail parties and other private affairs also may be hosted at Prospect.