Category Archives: Emory places

Emory’s other two-year college

Oxford College of Emory University has flourished over the past three decades and is now, more than ever, a sparkling jewel in the Emory crown. It is also unique in American higher education–a two-year college completely integrated into a major research university.

Many people are unaware, though, that Oxford College was not Emory’s first two-year division. That distinction belonged to a campus in Valdosta, Georgia, about ten miles from the Florida border and nearly 250 miles from Atlanta.

It’s not entirely clear why the citizens of Valdosta petitioned Emory in 1927 to create a two-year college in their town. The state had established a “normal college,” or teachers’ college, in 1906 but didn’t provide funds to open it until 1913. In 1922 the college was renamed Georgia State Woman’s College, so perhaps the dedication of the college to the education of women prompted the city’s leaders to look for gender balance from Emory, which at that time educated mostly men.

Whatever the reason, the request came at an opportune time. Emory College was revamping its curriculum to create a “lower division” and an “upper division,” essentially dividing the undergraduate student body into a two-year general-education college, after which students would specialize in their last two years. This concept translated easily to a campus almost in Florida. Students there could complete the same foundational courses as those on the Atlanta campus, then come to Atlanta for their last two years of baccalaureate work.

In 1928, with a gift of forty-three acres, a main building, and a $200,000 endowment from the city, Emory launched Emory-at-Valdosta. The building shown in the photo below served as the administration and classroom building.

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Emory-at-Valdosta, photo courtesy of Emory University Photograph Collection, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

The photo below, from the estate of Gardner B. Allen and held in the Rose Library collections, shows students, faculty, and administrators gathered on the steps of the Assembly Hall (now the AMUC) during “Junior College Day,” May 1930. Kneeling in front are, left to right, President Harvey Cox holding the hand of a little girl; Comer Woodward, dean of Emory-at-Oxford; William B. Stubbs 19C, dean of Emory-at-Valdosta; Goodrich White, dean of Emory College; and Theodore Jack, dean of the Graduate School. The children are unidentified. Stubbs, a Rhodes Scholar, had practiced law in Savannah before becoming the founding dean of the new junior college in Valdosta.

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During World War II, Emory closed the Valdosta campus and transferred faculty and students to Atlanta. For a short period after the war, enrollment climbed to nearly 250, but when the state decided to enlarge the women’s college and make it coeducational in 1950, the death knell sounded for the Emory junior college. As Emory’s higher tuition made competition with the state university challenging, enrollment at Emory-at-Valdosta slipped to sixty-five students in the spring of 1953. That May, the trustees of Emory, facing continuing deficits at the junior college, voted to offer the campus and its endowment to the University System of Georgia. The regents quickly accepted and incorporated the land and buildings into Valdosta State.

The original Emory building still stands on Pendleton Drive in Valdosta, now surrounded by other, more imposing structures that are part of the state university and the South Georgia medical Center.

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Satellite view from Google Maps.

Nowadays Pound Hall, as it’s called, houses the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration.

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Gary Hauk

 

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An old building’s makeover

In an earlier chapter of my life, I worked for three years as the reference librarian in the Pitts Theology Library at Emory. The building fascinated me almost as much as the gargantuan collection of books, one of the finest assemblages of theological materials in the country.

Built in 1916, the Old Theology Building, as it is now called, is undergoing a renaissance. Part of the makeover includes its name. For sixty years it was simply the Theology Building, then for another forty the Pitts Theology Library. With the move of the Candler School of Theology into the Rita Ann Rollins Building in 2009 and the transfer of Pitts into new quarters in 2014, the heavily worn and now empty building became simply “Old Theology.”

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The Theology Building, circa 1920. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Library, Emory University.

Designed by the great Beaux Arts architect Henry Hornbostel, the Theology Building was half of a pair of twins that comprised the only academic buildings on the new campus in 1916. (The other was the Law Building, now Carlos Hall, which mirrors Theology.)

The building was both elegant and spare. Hornbostel’s sweeping staircase had little ornamentation, and the entrance foyer was minimalist.

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Early view of the Theology entrance foyer.

On the other hand, the wood-paneled office of Chancellor Warren Candler–later the theology dean’s office and then the theology librarian’s–had a marble fireplace that is being restored to working order with gas-burning logs.

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The chancellor’s fireplace.

Amazingly, work crews stripping away old drywall this summer uncovered a long-forgotten fireplace below the chancellor’s office. This, too, will be restored to working order.

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Basement fireplace below the chancellor’s.

In the early years, the building served as a kind of attic for the University. Whatever they didn’t have room for elsewhere went into Theology. When Emory College moved from Oxford in 1919, the college dean had his office in Theology briefly, and the college library was squeezed into the basement until the Asa Griggs Candler Library was built in 1926.

For most of its life, the building served the theology school as library, offices, classrooms, and chapel.

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Library reading room, circa 1930.

 

Then, in 1974, Emory acquired a 220,000-volume collection of rare books being sold by the Hartford Theological Seminary, and the entire building was made into the Pitts Theology Library. Paul Rudolph, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and son of the first graduate of Candler School of Theology, redesigned the interior of Old Theology to incorporate steel mezzanines in all the rooms, and fill the space with shelves. The chapel became a book-filled reference room.

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This second-floor room, once filled with shelves of books, will become offices after restoration of the Old Theology Building.
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The view from the second story, once blocked by an exterior steel fire escape, now looks onto Rudolph Courtyard and the new theology buildings. The fire escape will be replaced by interior fire stairs.
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Chapel service, circa 1950s. Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Library.

 

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The former chapel will be revived as a place for University events.

In many ways, the restoration of the building will accomplish what Henry Hornbostel may have intended by his original design–a work that pays homage to the past through its neoclassical revival, while making room for engaging the present and preparing for the future. Fitted with high-tech digital capabilities, the restored building will also preserve the ornamentation and whimsical touches of its creator.

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Interior of ornamental window in Old Theology.

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View from window to molding around entrance. Under the eaves, Henry Hornbostel alternated ornamental crosses with crowns of thorns to note that this was the Theology Building.

When it reopens sometime in 2019, the Old Theology Building once again will be a shining jewel on the Quadrangle.

Gary Hauk

Love in the time of malaria

With summer in full swing, mosquitoes are biting, and with every bite comes the possibility of disease. Nowadays our concerns focus on Zika and West Nile viruses, transmitted by different species of mosquito. As recently as the 1930s, however, the most ravaging mosquito-borne disease in the American South was malaria–still one of the most epidemic infectious diseases in the Southern Hemisphere.

For a region dependent on agriculture and a workforce necessarily exposed to flying pests outdoors, the costs of malaria were high in both human and economic terms. Children missed school, dragging down their academic achievement and future prospects. Farm workers missed days of labor, reducing their income and their families’ well-being. Large-scale employers often hired twice the number of necessary workers, anticipating significant absenteeism.

In Baker County, Georgia, Coca-Cola magnate and Emory philanthropist Robert Woodruff saw the devastating impact of the disease on the men and women who lived around his Ichauway Plantation. He offered to establish a research center to study the spread and potential containment of the disease, and with the help of Emory administrators and physicians, a field station was opened in 1939. This field station, which operated until 1957, arguably was the seed from which both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rollins School of Public Health would spring. Sean Suarez has told the story in Southern Spaces with the help of archives from the Stuart A. Rose Library.

Photos in the Rose Library photograph collection add richness and humanity to the tale.

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A visiting nurse makes a call on a family near Ichauway Plantation, circa 1940s. Photos courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
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The field station on Ichauway Plantation would later coordinate its efforts with the U.S Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, forerunner of the CDC.
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Field research included monitoring mosquito populations in the marshy areas of Baker County.
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The only good mosquito was a netted mosquito, usually trapped at towers like this one at Ichauway.

During World War II, as U.S. military personnel were deployed to North Africa and the South Pacific–regions where malaria posed a significant threat to military effectiveness–the federal government established the Office of Malaria in War Areas in Atlanta to intensify the kind of work going on at Ichauway. After the war, this office would become the Communicable Disease Center–now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which moved next door to the Emory campus with the help of Robert Woodruff. In time, collaborations between the Emory School of Medicine and the CDC would lead to the founding of one of the top schools of public health in the United States, the Rollins School of Public Health, named for one of the great families of Emory philanthropists.

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Researchers proved their epidemiological chops by mapping the incidence of malaria in Baker County.

Ichauway plaque copy

Gary Hauk

Emory from the Sky

Alumni returning to Emory often exclaim—sometimes lamenting, other times just flabbergasted—how the campus has changed since their student days.

No kidding!

In the past fourteen years alone, the University has built nine residence halls, two new theology buildings, three medical education or research buildings, one for public health, a new home for admissions and the bookstore, a new psychology building, new sorority lodges, and at Oxford a new science building, new library, and new dining hall. Not to overlook sundry smaller projects like the traffic circle and new entrance in Emory Village.

Nothing, however, gives a sense of the changing landscape like a view from the sky.

While we don’t have an aerial photo of Druid Hills before the Atlanta campus was built, we do have an architect’s vision of the campus as it nestled into what had been “the old Guess place.”

The original 75 acres given by Asa Candler straddled two hills divided by streams and covered with pine woods. To turn this rural landscape on the edge of Atlanta into a university campus, the trustees hired the inimitable Beaux Arts architect Henry Hornbostel. He found the hills and pines of the Emory terrain reminiscent of Tuscany and hit upon an Italian neo-Renaissance look, with marble façades, red-tile roofs, broad eaves, and Roman arches for doors and windows.

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Henry Hornbostel’s campus plan

Using bridges to cross the streams and connect the hills, he laid out the academic heart of the campus on a hill that is now the Quadrangle, with a farther hill set off for living, dining, athletics, worship, and other social activities. While the design was too expensive to implement fully, the first buildings, opened in 1916, included the Theology Building and Law Building (lower center of the photo) and the Physics Building (now Callaway Center South), to the left of the tall tower, which was never attempted. The sole residence hall designed by Hornbostel and still standing is Dobbs Hall, shown in this design in the center of the semicircle of buildings to the left. Emory Village would grow up at the V shown at the lower edge of the photo.

The photo below, probably taken in 1922, shows why William Dillingham 55C 56G, professor emeritus of English, remarked about his student days, “When I came to Emory, it was a small school in a forest.” The campus had been even more remote three decades earlier, as the woods and fields of DeKalb County stretched north and east of Druid Hills.

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Emory University, circa 1922

 

The two buildings swathed in construction scaffolding in the upper right corner are Wesley Memorial Hospital, later renamed Emory University Hospital. These buildings, completed in 1922, replaced the hospital’s original home in downtown Atlanta.

Two campus landmarks help to date precisely the photo below—one landmark by its presence, the other by its absence.

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Emory, 1932

Glenn Memorial Church, shown in the lower center of the photo, was constructed on the Emory campus in 1931, the gift of board chair Charles Howard Candler Sr. 1898C 1902M and his wife, Flora Glenn Candler. What’s missing from the photo is the water tower that was installed in 1933 near where the tall boiler smokestack rises above the athletic fields. (See blog post of October 3, 2016.)

The end of World War II and the benefits of the GI Bill sparked an unprecedented growth in the student body and faculty at Emory. To accommodate all the new people, the University built in a frenzy while using trailers and wooden barracks for temporary space. The forest began to give way. The History Building (1951, now Bowden Hall) in the center of the photo below and the Woodruff Memorial Research Building (1952) to the left of the hospital help date this photo. Missing is the Administration Building (1955), which would close off the western end of the Quadrangle, still very wooded in the lower center of the photo. Note the water tower rising from the trees above the athletic fields.

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Emory campus, circa 1952-55

 

As the Baby Boom hit Emory in the 1960s, the campus began to sprawl. Cox Hall (1960) appears in the photo below, above the hospital buildings; off to the right rise the new buildings of the Centers for Disease Control, which moved to Clifton Road in the 1950s. Missing from the photo is Robert W. Woodruff Library, which in 1969 would take another large bite out of the woods toward the lower-left corner of the photo.

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Emory campus, 1963

Later aerial photos would show even more dramatic growth—as well as the loss of some of the buildings shown above. Thus—lament and astonishment!

Gary S. Hauk

Never-before-seen photos!

Pardon me for trying to grab your attention à la The National Inquirer or some click-bait headline. But when I came across these images in the Stuart A. Rose Library, I was stunned and wanted to share them.

Ever since I first laid eyes on the tower next to the dam in Lullwater Preserve, more than thirty years ago, I have wondered what it looked like in its glory days. Below is its current condition.

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See here for a closer view. Note the vegetation on the far bank. Behind it and to the right of what you can see in the photo rises the Atlanta VA Hospital along with its parking decks.

Walter Candler, Emory College Class of 1907, was the second-youngest son of Coca-Cola founder and Emory benefactor Asa Griggs Candler. When Walter began developing his 183-acre estate in 1925, DeKalb County had not fully developed its electrical grid, and county power did not extend to the house, which Candler occupied in 1926. He thus had to generate his own power with the help of the dam that he built across the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, shown above.  Machinery within the tower cranked out electricity. The generating equipment has long since been removed, and the tower has fallen to rack and ruin.

Below is what it looked like when newly built.

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Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

Note the bridge over the dam, which was removed in the early 1990s because it had become hazardous. In the distance, where the VA Hospital now stands, a horse pasture spreads toward Clairmont Road. And there are two of Candler’s horses!

Most magnificently, the pointed roof sports clock faces—in case you got to wondering what time it was while fishing the stream.

The photographer who took the old photo, possibly in about 1930, turned around and then took the photo below. The dam is now to the photographer’s back.

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Courtesy of Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University

The wooden bridge in the photo straddled a stream that flowed in from about where the road vanishes in the distance. That stream is now known as Earnest Richardson Creek, after the long-time caretaker of Candler’s estate. Beyond the stream lies a low pasture, and beyond it rises an embankment topped by a white fence. Farther still rises a hillside. Lullwater House, the English Tudor-style home that Candler built, now the home of Emory presidents since 1963, stands at the top of the high hill whose base rises up to the right of the photo.

At some point, Candler decided to dam Richardson Creek at about the lower left corner of the photo to create a lake that would fill in that far pasture. Below is the same view, taken in January 2017. The vehicles belong to an Emory Campus Services crew removing fallen trees near the dam.

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The photo below shows the dam that created the lake.

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Note that the far bank of the lake still is topped by the dirt road that was there in the earlier photo, but the distant hill is entirely wooded. Those woods are part of the “Emory Forest” whose preservation is part of the long-term sustainability plan for the campus.

Amazing what a difference 90 years can make.

Gary Hauk

Halloween, ghosts, and graveyards

Every campus should have its ghosts, or at least its ghost stories, and Emory does. Some students claim to have “felt” the spirit of President Atticus Haygood in Old Church at Oxford. One former staff member of the alumni association tells a hair-raising story of encountering a man in an old-fashioned suit and a bowler hat while working on the second floor of the Houston Mill House—a man there one moment and gone the next. And heaven (or hell!) only knows what goes on at the Briarcliff mansion, but check it out here.

The best Emory ghost story surely comes from Mike Wilhoit, who 45 years ago was working late at night in the Tufts House (formerly Uppergate House), when he encountered a woman who couldn’t have been there but was–and then wasn’t.

For those in search of more mundane encounters with “spirits” from the past, two cemeteries at Emory beckon. One is on the Oxford campus and harbors the graves of Confederate soldiers who died while being cared for in Oxford after the Battle of Atlanta.

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The Confederate cemetery near Williams Gymnasium at Oxford College, as it appeared in 1959—much as it appears today.

A second cemetery lies tucked away, half-hidden, on the Clairmont Campus in Atlanta. Shuttle-bus riders and pedestrians, as well as parents picking up children at the Clifton Childcare Center, often pass by without realizing that some fifty bodies lie buried nearby.

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Countless shuttle riders and pedestrians pass the Hardman Cemetery without seeing its sign at the top of the knoll.
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The cemetery on Emory’s Clairmont Campus harbors the remains of some of DeKalb County’s early settlers. The earliest is from 1825, and the most recent from 1909.

Richard Houston Sams, Emory College Class of 1957, has written the fullest history of this hallowed ground, and he has good reason for his interest in it—some of his ancestors are buried there.

The earliest grave is that of Rody Harriet Hardman, just a year and a half old when she died in 1825. She was the daughter of John Hardman, who was laid to rest near her more than half a century later.

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A small, blank stone in the corner of the Hardman plot marks little Rody’s grave.
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John “Johnny” Hardman, 1793–1879

Not far from the Hardman plot lie Dr. Chapmon Powell and his wife, Elizabeth Hardman Powell, parents of Amanda Powell. In 1854 Amanda married Washington Jackson Houston–the builder of Houston Mill and great-grandfather of Richard Sams.

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Somewhat farther away, near the edge of the cemetery, lie the foundation stones on which, sometime around 1830, Naman Hardman built a church known as the Primitive Baptist Church in Christ at Hardman’s. This building, according to Sams, was still standing when a wing of General Sherman’s army marched down the Shallowford Trail–now Clairmont Road–toward Decatur in July 1864. Sams says the structure was left in ashes by the time the army left.

Much more history haunts these two acres, which are owned not by Emory but by the DeKalb Historical Society. The spirits inhabiting the place include the land’s original inhabitants, the Creek Indians, who lived along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, near where the VA Hospital stands on Clairmont Road. Meanwhile, this quiet corner tucked between a parking deck and apartment building D offers tranquility for visitors on a balmy autumn afternoon.

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The tranquility of the graveyard belies the bustle of the parking deck, apartment building, and shuttle road that surround it.

 

Gary Hauk

The water tower and the golfer

It stood above the campus like a sentry, as if to guard against drought and keep watch for welcome rain clouds on the horizon. In my recollection it was always blue, though not Emory blue–more like the blue of a robin’s egg.

It should have been painted white, with trompe l’oeil stippling to mimic the look of a golf ball. Because after I heard someone refer to it as “the Bobby Jones Memorial,” I could never again see it as anything but a golf ball on a tee. (Bobby Jones was the Emory alumnus who graduated from the law school in 1929 and went on, the following year, to become the only person ever to win the grand slam of golf.)

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The old water tower on Emory’s campus resembled a golf ball on a tee. The tower appears here in the catalogue of the manufacturer.

The tower was installed in 1933 and made it into the pages of the November-December 1933 Emory Alumnus.

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By 2007 the water tower, in terms that Bobby Jones would have been familiar with, had become a waterless hazard. It had not held water since the 1980s, and improvements to maintain its structural integrity were estimated to cost several hundred thousands of dollars. While realigning Eagle Row to make way for new residence halls, the university dismantled the tower and recycled its steel.

I learned recently that Mathew Pinson, senior director of development in the Candler School of Theology, has a personal connection to that bygone tower. His great-grandfather, Bryan M. Blackburn, was employed by R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company in Newnan, Georgia, when he patented the design of the hundred-thousand-gallon tank. Mathew shared images of the design that was approved by the US Patent Office on February 20, 1934 (after the tower had been installed at Emory). The patent and the catalogue from the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company are in the Pinson family archives.

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Great-grandfather Blackburn was a member of the twenty-fifth graduating class of Georgia Tech and began developing this design while he was a student.

Great thanks to Mathew for sharing these design images and the information about his ancestor.

Curiously, Emory University was not the only Emory with a water tower that resembled a golf ball on tee. Check out the one from Emory, Texas, below. I believe ours was built first–and unfortunately had to be removed first.

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Gary Hauk