As it turns out Summerhill turns 170 this year, making it the oldest building at Queen's. It is also considered one of the finest examples of 19th century country villas in Canada.
However, Summerhill wasn't purchased by Queen's until 1853 as the nascent college had been renting various buildings around town since it began operations in 1842. As a result Summerhill had quite the variety of incarnations for its first decade or so, including its original purpose as a family home; then the Sydenham Inn, space for committees of the Parliament of Canada, and a temporary home to the Midland Grammar School.
When Queen's offered its first session in its new permanent home, in October 1854, Summerhill welcomed 31 students. Summerhill housed the college's library, and classrooms for Theology, Mathematics, and Practical Philosophy. A year later the Medical School took two rooms in the east wing. By 1858, a new building had been erected for the Medical School and a new professor of Chemistry and Natural History took over in the east wing. By 1860 Queen's had 64 students in Arts & Theology and classes were now also offered in Literature and History. In fact Summerhill would serve as the entire home for Arts & Theology at Queen's until the college built its third building, Arts Building (now called Theological Hall), opened in October 1880.