Freed-Hardeman’s Old Main marks 100th anniversary
The Messenger 11.30.07
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for Freed-Hardeman University’s Old Main Administration Building.
The building’s cornerstone is still intact and bears the inscription “laid by the citizens of Henderson.”
A special celebration called Cornerstone Day is planned for the building’s 101st anniversary Nov. 30, 2008. The date coincides with Tennessee Archives Week, dedicated to celebrating archives and historical records. A special chapel presentation is also planned for the day.
Old Main was designed by architect Hubert McGee, who designed dozens of buildings in West Tennessee. The Henderson community is actually home to at least six of McGee’s buildings in addition to Old Main.
McGee’s most famous architectural work is the Pink Palace in Memphis.
Old Main has been used for many purposes over the past 100 years. The building’s classrooms are still used for communication, literature and music classes and its offices are still occupied by several members of FHU’s faculty. Chapel Hall is located on the second floor of the building. It is no longer used as the meeting place for the university’s daily chapel service, but students still meet there on weeknights during the cold months for devotionals.
Old Main’s 100th anniversary brings many questions about the university’s plans for the building in the future.
Erin Adams, the director of FHU’s historical room, said, “Dr. Sewell has approached people about restoring Old Main’s bell tower, which is great. But, if we want to keep the building viable, useful and beautiful, more money has to be put into preserving the rest of the building.”
Adams plans to have Old Main added to the National Register of Historic Places, which will provide protection against its being torn down and will make it eligible for federal funding for restoration expenses.
“Once a building is added to the National Register of Historic Places, it cannot be torn down, and the university will have to follow federal guidelines for restoring the building. The good news is the university will be eligible for federal funds to help with the restoration process,” Adams said.