The first structure built at Elsah by Maybeck was an experimental building originally named the Sample House, and now known as the Mistake House. Between April and June of 1931, Maybeck personally supervised the construction of this cottage-like structure erected as a point of reference for methods and materials in the new college construction. It was his intention to use the Sample House as a basis for written instructions coming from his San Francisco office to the architects and construction supervisors in his Elsah office. The little building illustrates all kinds of construction techniques, including half timbering mixed with brick, concrete, and stone. In order to imitate the effect of thatch in an English village, Maybeck used gunite on the north slope of the Mistake House roof with poured concrete dormers and a concrete chimney. Principia administrators required that the architect experiment with terra cotta tile on the south slope, the method ultimately adopted for the executed dormitories.

Maybeck at Principia Anderson Hall Brooks House Buck House Howard House Rackham Court Sylvester House
Chapel Mistake House Morey Field House Radford House Watson Building