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Although Peace College (as "Peace Institute") was chartered in 1857 as a school for girls, construction of its principal building--Main Building--was still underway when the Civil War began in 1861. During the war, the Confederate government appropriated the building to serve as a military hospital; and when the war was over, the Federal government assumed control of the building and property for use as the Freedman's Bureau for the Raleigh area.
Since 1872, Main Building has served the function for which it was originally intended: a school for young women. The building might well be regarded as the centerpiece of Peace College's history as an educational institution. Indeed, for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and with the exception of two or three small frame structures that were demolished in the early 20th century, Main Building was Peace College: very nearly all of the school's daily activities occurred within its walls. For a period in the 19th century, Peace operated a kindergarten that was purported to be one of the first, if not the first, kindergarten in the South. Tradition has it that Peace also established one of the earliest "cooking school" (home economics) programs in the South.
Main Building continues to be the center of campus life. It houses most of the College's administrative offices, the College chapel and theatre, several student-support offices, and is a residence hall as well. As is appropriate for a building of importance in the life of the College, Main has been frequently renovated and is maintained in good condition.
The History of First Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, North Carolina: 1816-1991. Raleigh, NC: Commercial Printing Co., n.d., 192-99.
Lefler, Hugh Talmadge, and Albert Newsome. North Carolina: The History of a Southern State. Revised Edition. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1963.
Murray, Elizabeth Reid. Wake, Capital County of North Carolina. Vol. 1. Raleigh, NC: Capital Count Publishing Co., 1983, 614-15.
Vickers, James. Raleigh, City of Oaks: An Illustrated History. Raleigh, NC: Wake County Historical Society, 1982.
Williams, Alexa C., ed. Raleigh: A Guide to North Carolina's Capital. Second edition. Raleigh, NC: Raleigh Fine Arts Society, 1992.
Wilson, Sidney Ann. Personae: The History of Peace College. Privately Printed. n.d.