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Buildings History

"It is our privilege and responsibility to insure that what was worthy and hopeful in the past shall have ...expression in the present and future."

                                                     - Carlyle Campbell, 4th President of Meredith College


“A campus with well-maintained buildings sends the message of pride, of financial stability, and of overarching quality.”

                                     – President Jo Allen (Class of 1980), 8th President of Meredith College


Each building on the Meredith College Campus has a story. Never static in appearance, the campus has grown over nearly a century into the lovely site as it appears today, reflecting the planning, fundraising and donations of generations of administrators, trustees, faculty, staff, alumna and supporters. 


This guide was created as a joint project with Dr. Daniel Fountain's History 300 class, Spring 2017.



Baptist Female University finally opened the doors to students in 1899 after years of discussion, fundraising and location scouting. The first  campus was conveniently located downtown near the Raleigh public library, churches and shopping. At first consisting of only Main Building, the school property eventually included seven buildings "on the square," plus 3 other off-campus houses used to room students and teachers. But by 1921, the lack of space downtown and the inability to expand led to a search for a new location - and to the Tucker Farm on the outskirts of the city.  It was there in 1924 that officials held a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the Administration Building.

The heart of the new campus was six fireproof, brick Georgian buildings: the Administration Building, four dormitories and the dining room/kitchen. In addition three temporary frame buildings were raised on the east side of the campus and were used for an auditorium, science classrooms and art studios. In 1928, a temporary gymnasium was added. 

The new campus opened to excited returning students in January 1926. It was a winter of freezing and thawing snow and rain, and wood planks had to make do for sidewalks. But the student's fears that they would be forgotten when so far from town were relieved that first Saturday when visitors overflowed the common areas. And come spring, students, staff and alumna raised money for the creation of gardens of shrubbery, flowers and trees around the dormitories and classrooms.



A photograph of Old Meredith College campus in downtown Raleigh, 1920.

Old Meredith College campus in downtown Raleigh (1920)

By the time this panoramic photograph was taken, Meredith College in downtown Raleigh was struggling to accommodate its students in limited space with no room to expand. From left to right, Main Building, Faircloth Hall and East Building. 

Sanborn Map of downtown campus, 1903

1903 Sanborn Map of downtown campus

This 1903 map shows how crowded the downtown campus was already in 1903. There was little room to expand and little privacy or quiet for the students. At lower left is Main Building with East Building at the right corner. Faircloth Hall would be built between them in 1904, somewhat relieving an urgent need for student housing: that same year, enrollment has increased from 279 to 354. 


An aerial view of the cramped downtown college campus, located next to the Governor's Mansion.

Downtown college campus.

This aerial view of downtown Raleigh with Meredith College at the center shows how cramped and boxed in the campus had become in less than 20 years. (Bordering the site is the Governor's Mansion.) 

Front page of THE TWIG, reporting on the barbecue that proceeded the groundbreaking.

Front page of THE TWIG, October 17,1924

Prior to the formal groundbreaking, a barbecue and pageant for students, faculty and trustees  was held on the site of what would become the new Meredith College campus. 

A photograph of cornerstone ceremony in December of 1924.

Cornerstone ceremony, December 1924

In December 1924, during the gathering of the Baptist State Convention, a ceremony was held to place the cornerstone of the new campus' Administration Building. Inside the cornerstone was placed a variety of momentos and artifacts representing the history and present of Meredith College, including a Bible, copies of the Bibical Recorder the school's charter, the Acorn, the Twig, the 1923-34 catalogue and a blueprint of "Greater Meredith",  This event followed the simple groundbreaking in October, when, after students, trustees and faculty had enjoyed a barbecue among the oak trees, a few shovelfuls of dirt were overturned, a prayer was offered and the Doxology sung. 

A photo of the new Administration building under construction in 1925.

The Administration Building under construction in 1925.

The renamed Administration Building was named Johnson Hall in 1931.

An aerial view photograph of the new Meredith College campus in 1928.

Aerial view of the new Meredith College campus (1928)

The new campus was comprised of six brick permanent and three temporary frame buildings; these facilities included an auditorium, science laboratories, art studios and classrooms. A fourth short-term building, a gymnasium, was put up in 1928. These "temporary" buildings would last for decades.  

Map of the current campus.

Present-day campus map showing all buildings on campus.