February 26, 2007
Heritage plaques to mark historic buildings across Emory campus
BY kim urquhart
Flanking the verdant quadrangle in the historical heart of Emory’s main campus, three original buildings still stand. Built in an Italian Renaissance style by distinguished architect Henry Hornbostel between 1916 and 1919, Michael C. Carlos Hall, Pitts Theology Library and Callaway Memorial Center once served as the School of Law, the first home of the Candler School of Theology and the once-separate physics building and chemistry building, respectively. The history of these buildings — and eight others — will soon be marked by heritage plaques.
The heritage markers will provide a sense of place and history, said Vice President and Deputy to the President Gary Hauk, whose Traditions and History at Emory committee is spearheading the effort.
The first phase of the project will include 11 markers at key locations near the quandrangle, Hauk said. The historical markers will inform patrons at Dooley’s Den at The Depot, for example, that the former railroad station was immortalized in a 1955 Flannery O’Connor story; that Alabama Hall has no connection to the state but was named in honor of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; or that Harris Hall was the first residence hall for women on the Emory campus.
Designed by the Office of Campus Planning, the 24-inch granite pedestals inscribed with the Emory shield will support a 14x14-inch cast aluminum plaque emblazoned with the name and origin of the building, dates of construction and renovation, a brief description of its history and the architects who designed it. An initial set of markers was approved at a recent Board of Trustees meeting and will be supported through the Woodruff Landscape Fund.
Hauk said the next phase of the project will extend beyond buildings to include historic locations at Emory. “We are identifying spots on campus with historic interest and curiosity,” Hauk explained. For example, a plaque may commemorate the site of the first televised commencement ceremony — held in 1949 in the amphitheater behind Glenn Church when then-vice president Alben Barkley delivered a televised address from his alma mater, or mark the former site of the Fishburne Education Building where the Goizueta Business School now stands.
The impetus for the project began nearly a decade ago, when former University President Bill Chace commissioned the Committee on Traditions and Community Ties at Emory to determine the ways that alumni feel connected to Emory. When surveyed, many indicated that they felt that Emory’s campus, while beautiful, lacked a sense of history, Hauk said.
As Emory’s resident historian, Hauk has continued that effort. With the help of University archivist Ginger Cain, graphic designer Barry Worley and others, the plaques have been designed and are set for installation this spring.