From its outset, in 1861, Matthew Vassar had taken, as Vassar's founding president, John Raymond, later observed, "the leading and responsible part in the direction" of the construction of Main Building.  Delays—including the bankruptcy of the builder, William Harloe—plagued project, and the public, curious to see the immense new building where Vassar's "experiment" would take place, frequented the site. As the opening of the college drew near, Vassar, as chairman of the Executive Committee, signed an order banning visitors from the college’s building and grounds "in consequence of frequent interruptions to the workmen."