Last week I showed you some photos of my small town. Today, December 28th, it is absolutely a spring day, (high 60’s) so I am strolling the campus of Davidson College, the town’s backbone. In the spring of 1835 a small group of Presbyterian churchmen got together in the home of William Lee Davidson, a North Carolina militia general during the American Revolutionary War. The men wanted to build a college, but the designated property had to meet strict requirements. It had to be land between two thriving big cities, Charlotte and Statesville, and “remarkably healthful, being free from malaria and other local causes of sickness.” It would be established for the education of young men for the gospel ministry, as well as planned as a self supporting manual labor institution; meaning all the students at that time were obligated to work in the fields three hours a day in the Manual Labor program.
By 1840 there were four faculty members (one also served as president) and eighty students. Upon arrival each student would go to each professor, where they would be given an entrance exam in each subject.
The college was here first and the town was built up around the college. The original name of the town was Davidson College. The college owned so much property it was decided to dispose of some of the land opposite the campus, by selling lots for houses. They offered a 99 year lease and a great deal of control over the behavior of its tenants. Anyone leasing a lot “could not vend, barter, traffic, give or deal in any way in ardent spirits, wine, cider, gin, porter, ale or any other kind of intoxicating liquor.” Many of these lots were bought by the professors to build their homes on and in later years some of the larger homes were turned into boarding houses for the students.
Last week I photographed the one block shopping area of our town across from Davidson College. Here is a view of Main Street from the college!
The students raised most of the money to build the private meeting halls; the Philanthropic Literary Society Hall, and the Eumenean Literary Society Hall, where social life was centered. Most of the students belonged to one or the other with a passionate loyalty. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1837 there were three small dormitories to accommodate the students. Each narrow building had four separate rooms with each room opening to the outside. They were called, “The Rows”; Oak and Elm.
I wanted to photograph some of the newer buildings as well ……..
And the grounds feature an arboretum and the trees are tagged for identification.
Today, Davidson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to cultivating humane instincts and disciplined, creative minds. Their lingo not mine. I hope that means graduates will be able to get a job!
See you in the New Year!
This is just one of many photos in the Thursday Door Collection featured by Norm2.0! Won’t you join in or take a peak at all the doors?