Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


South Residence Hall

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Institution Name: Salem College
Original/Historic Place Name: Girls Boarding School
Location on Campus: Church St. on Salem Square
Date(s) of Construction:
1805original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stuccoed stone
Walls: brick
Roof: clay tile
ca. 1805other (academy and boarding school for girls)
ca. 2004-present (2006)residence hall

Salem Academy and College was founded in 1772 by the Moravian single sisters, who resided in the Single Sisters House (1775) in the village of Salem in North Carolina. The success of the sisters' school for girls brought into focus the need for an expanded educational program. In early 1803, plans for a school building with boarding facilities had taken shape, and the site beside Single Sisters House was chosen, although the sisters had earlier noted that the use of this site would rob them of their bleaching green. Construction began and pupils arrived before the building was complete.

Occupied in the summer of 1805, the boarding school could accommodate about sixty "daughters" and the "necessary sisters," as well as the inspector (headmaster), who later had a residence in a separate building. In addition to classrooms, where geography, history, syntax, reading, writing, music, drawing, needlework, and German were taught, there were a large dining hall and an attic dormitory. There were also a sick room and a storeroom.

The building served exclusively as an academy and boarding school for girls between the ages of eight and fifteen until after the Civil War, when it was chartered for college work. Girls of all ages made use of the facility until the 1930s, when the Academy acquired a new building. By this time the old boarding school building had been altered and few original architectural features remained intact. Salem College, with the cooperation of Old Salem, Inc., completed the restoration of the building in 1966, preserving an 1824 addition and a clerestory that had been added to the front facade in 1837 for ventilation in the upstairs dormitory.

South Hall retains its original hooded stoop entrance. A rare architectural feature is the use of painted brick adjacent to door and window openings--a substitute for rubbed brick as seen in the arches of the Single Sisters House. The exterior brick includes a decorative use of glazed headers laid in the Flemish bond pattern. By the mid 1820s, this bricklaying pattern had been replaced with a less difficult bond pattern. Both are used in this building. Today South Hall remains in use as a College dormitory.


Fries, Adelaide, trans. and ed. Records of the Moravians, vol 6. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Historical Society, 1943.

Hartley, Michael O., and Martha B. Boxley. Salem Survey 1997. Winston-Salem, NC: Old Salem, Inc., 1997.

Hartley, Michael O., and Martha B. Boxley. Survey Files for Salem National Register Landmark District Proposal. Winston-Salem, NC: Old Salem, Inc., 1997.

Miller, Johanna. "A Social and Architectural History of the Girls' Boarding School Building at Salem, NC." North Carolina Historical Review 66 (April 1989): 125-48.

Old Salem Historic District [including Salem College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1966.

Rauschenberg, Bradford L. Salem College Study. Winston-Salem, NC: Wachovia Historical Society, 1983.


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Last update: November 2006