During the second half of the 19th century, Princeton presidents James McCosh (1868-1888) and Francis Patton (1888-1902) oversaw a period of rapid expansion that favored a more park-like setting for buildings, placing less importance on axes and symmetry than previous styles. The Victorian style of architecture provided an organic approach that complemented this landscape philosophy. This change coincided with a pedagogic shift from the fixed curriculum of a small Protestant college to a more modern concept of a university.
The town of Princeton continued to expand, surrounding the campus on three sides. The railroad station, still in its original northern location near Blair Hall, provided the gateway to the town as well as the University.