Lewis Place is a southern plantation house on High Street in Oxford. It has been Miami University's White House for nearly a century. Starting with Guy Potter Benton in 1903, it has been the official residence of MU presidents.
"The finest old house in Oxford is Lewis Place," declared Mrs. Ophia Smith in her book, Old Oxford Houses and the People Who Lived in Them. It was built in 1839 by Romeo Lewis, a wealthy Connecticut man who came to Oxford via Florida. He died in 1843, at age 48, four years after building his Oxford mansion.
His widow, Jane Lewis, remained in the house until her death in 1888, at age 80. Subsequently, a nephew, Phillip Moore, leased Lewis Place rent-free to Miami. In 1903, President Benton occupied the house. In 1929, the Ohio General Assembly appropriated $25,000 for its purchase and repair. "Lewis Place was probably reminiscent of Romeo's plantation house in Florida," observed Mrs. Smith in explaining its design. (See Miami University.)