Located at 146 Commonwealth Avenue near Dartmouth Street in Boston's Back Bay, Fisk House is a cooperative residence for women graduate students enrolled at Boston University. Administered by the Office of Residential Life and supported and maintained by the Boston University Women's Council, Fisk House provides a residence for 16 students at nominal cost. It is the only subsidized graduate student residence at Boston University.
History of Fisk House
Fisk House was designed and built in 1876 for Boston leather merchant and manufacturer Stephen Everett Westcott. After his death in 1892, his family continued to live there through the 1920s. But by 1930, the house had become vacant. In 1933, with a gift of $15,000, the Boston University Women's Council helped Boston University buy the brownstone to provide subsidized housing for women students.
Under the leadership of its first president, Louisa Holman Fisk, the Women's Council undertook the responsibility of restoring and maintaining the house, establishing endowments and raising funds by sponsoring lectures, holding antique auctions, and hosting other events like a Symphony Hall recital that featured famed lyric tenor Roland Hayes. In 1940, University President Daniel Marsh, Boston University presented to the Council a portrait of Mrs. Fisk which still hangs in Fisk House. The University awarded Mrs. Fisk an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement in 1941; and in 1949, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name the building the Louisa Holman Fisk House.
After World War II, as more and more women began coming to Boston University from around the country and abroad, the Women's Council continued its support and also helped the University build more housing for women. In 1959, to honor a gift from the Women's Council, the University named a lounge in the new Towers the Lucy Jenkins Franklin, in honor of the University's first Dean of Women.
Maintaining Fisk House-keeping facilities and appliances up-to-date, making repairs, upholding safety and security standards-remains one of the Boston University Women's Council primary missions. Recently, Council members upgraded the TV room, bought new mattresses and box springs and new dishes. To this day, Fisk House remains an elegant, convenient and comfortable residence for women graduate students.