Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Carlisle House

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Institution Name: Wofford College
Original/Historic Place Name: Original Faculty Home
Location on Campus: College Dr. (239 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303-3663)
Date(s) of Construction:
1854original construction Clayton, Ephraim
Designer: probably Ephraim Clayton, contractor for the campus
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: red brick over wood frame
Roof:
 
Function:
1854-present (2006)other (faculty housing)
 

Narrative:
This is one of four identical campus homes, all of which are fine examples of Southern middle-class townhouses of the 1850s. Notable features include the floors, mantles, stairs and other woodwork. Carlisle House has been used continuously as a residence for faculty or administrators and, having been well-maintained, is in very nearly original condition.

The house was first occupied by Dr. James H. Carlisle, Wofford's third president (1875-1902), and a member of the faculty from the time the college opened until his death in his campus home. In the dark, poverty-stricken days just after the Civil War, when Main Building was the only academic structure on the campus, Carlisle began his career as a master teacher and leader. Thus it is very fitting that the large beautiful portrait of Carlisle by Albert Guerry dominated Leonard Auditorium.

At least one writer has called Carlisle "the Greatest Southern Carolinian of his day." Another distinguished scholar summed up Dr. Carlisle's career (which included serving in the South Carolina Secession Convention and a term in the state legislature): "In the sense of creating an atmosphere when young students could breathe high ideals....I have never known a man like him."

But Dr. Carlisle's career had lighter moments as well. He was a master of the epigram, and many of the stories he told in his famous ten-minute chapel talks seem contemporary: "To be the roommate of a low, vile blackguard is a dear price to pay, even for education." And: "There are two classes of students who can not afford to spend much money, those who have worked hard and made their money, and those for whom somebody else has worked hard and made money." And finally: "A selfish person can get anything he or she is determined to have in this world except happiness."
 

References:

Brabham, William H. Wofford College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.

Wallace, David Duncan. The History of Wofford College, 1854-1949. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1951.

 

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Last update: November 2006