| Click on image titles for larger views. || |
When Converse College began its first session in October 1890, Main Hall was the only building. During the 1890s additional buildings were added on either side of Main Hall to form a line that now dominates the Front Campus. These early structures still retain their original appearance more than 100 years later. The entrances to some buildings have been modified to meet modern codes, and some have had extensive interior renovation. As enrollment grew, a new Back Campus was created behind the original buildings. The oldest of these structures dates from 1912; the newest will be completed during 2003. All buildings are in good to excellent condition.
Today Converse College continues to occupy its original site on property which has always been used for education. Prior to the Civil War, the property was the location of several attempts to establish an Episcopal school, first for boys, and later St John's Theological Seminary. The Main Hall of St. John's Seminary had been partially completed when the Board of Directors of Converse College purchased the property from the Episcopal Diocese in 1889. Since that time, the site has been used for the education of women. In the light of the current trend toward co-education, this represents a significant commitment and achievement.
In January 1892 a fire destroyed the Main Building. The cornerstone of the present building was laid April 21, 1892 on the site of the burned structure. The exterior of Main Building, renamed Wilson Hall in 1929 in honor of the first president of Converse, B.F. Wilson, is similar in design to that of the original Main Building. During Converse's formative years, Main Building served as a center for the school's activities as well as providing dining facilities, faculty and student living quarters, classrooms, and administration offices.
Eaddy, Mary Ann. Converse College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1975.
Kibler, Lillian Adele. The History of Converse College. Spartanburg, SC: Converse College, 1973.
Willis, Jeffrey R. Converse College: A Pictorial History. Spartanburg, SC: Converse College, 2001.