By 1854 William and Chloe Willson were settled in this home, pictured here in 1858, at the northeast corner of Capitol and Court Street. The Willsons were pioneers of the Methodist mission and founders of both Willamette University and the town that became Salem.
In 1881, when Chloe was a widow, Willamette University President Thomas Van Scoy purchased the “English Cottage” and moved it to the campus as the Woman’s College.

Over the years it was enlarged, heightened, given a Mansard roof and, finally, a tower. The picture above, used by the courtesy of Willamette University Archives and Special Collections, shows the alterations made in the former home. In 1919 it was demolished for the construction of the present Lausanne Hall. The Chronicles of Willamette states, “The original of unit of this outworn old building…was the beautiful old Willson mansion but the numerous additions to it had long before made it into an architectural monstrosity and there was general rejoicing when it could be blotted out of the landscape.”
The name Lausanne, given to this university building, recalls the ship that brought missionaries to the Oregon settlement in 1843: Chloe was one of these. She became one of the first teachers at the school that is now Willamette University.

After the Willson house was moved to the Willamette campus, H. B. Theilsen and his wife Jennie purchased the property on Court Street where the Willson house had stood. They built a home where they lived with their three children. In about 1925 the house was demolished, although the family continued to own the land. A Shell Service Station was constructed and automobile facilities have continued to occupy the property since that time.