Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Women's Auxiliary Building

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Institution Name: King College
Original/Historic Place Name: Women's Auxiliary Building
Location on Campus: 2913 Sells Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1918-1919original construction Kearfott, Clarence B.
Designer: Clarence B. Kearfott
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, engineering, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: brick
Walls: brick, three layers laid in Flemish bond
Roof: asphalt shingles
ca. 1919facility management building (facilities services in basement mid 20th century)
ca. 1919dining hall (kitchen; student coffee shop; pantry and serving area until 1983)
ca. 1919chapel
ca. 1919residence hall (men’s dormitory for about 24 students including the Dietician and some faculty and staff, women's dorm for 20 students)
1919-1987dining hall
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (fine arts: green room, paint and arts room, Penny Art Gallery, costume storage and fabrication, ballet room, set storage, antique print shop from c. 1900)
ca. 2004-present (2006)theater

The Women's Auxiliary Building was the second building begun on King's current site. It was perceived as being funded by the Bristol Women's Auxiliary, but in reality E. W. King quietly funded the structure. The keystone says it was built in 1917, but it was actually started in 1918 and completed in 1919 owing to the impact of inflation due to World War I. In 1918, The Student Army Training Corps requested King College help house military personnel who needed training for deployment in World War I. This enabled the college to receive funding from the Army for the completion of the Women's Auxiliary building so the Training Corps could be properly fed. Both organizations thus benefited from the new facility.

The building has been slowly transformed to a Fine Arts Theater and support space. There is no record or knowledge of any major remodeling. It originally served as both the dining hall and the college chapel and continued in the former capacity until 1987.

A unique structural detail is the building's second floor, which is supported from the roof structure in order to avoid the interior on the first floor. A structural engineer reviewed this in 1995 and pointed out the design and its characteristics. There are many steel rods (1-1/2 inches wide, 12.5 feet long) holding up the structure. The walls are made of three Flemish bond layers of brick, with plaster coating on the interior. The building still contains the original "knob & tube" wiring and some of the original push-button ceramic light switches. The print shop in the basement has 1900-era printing presses, and a sample of most, if not all, printed material is available for review in the library archives.

The building is in much need of complete renovation and requires several things: the addition of Central Heating and Air conditioning for theater performances; increased accessibility to restroom facilities; an upgrade of the electrical system; and improved basement drainage.


Landscape Master Plan. Narrative and drawings. King College, Bristol, TN.

Selected items from Collection of Master Plans. 1917, 1931, 1952 and 1968. King College Archives, King College, Bristol, TN.

Thompson & Litton Architects. Master Plan [King College]. Narrative and drawings. [Wise, VA: Thompson & Litton Architects], October 1998 and 1999.


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Last update: November 2006