Completed in 1841, Old College is the second oldest building on the Tusculum College campus. It is one of ten structures on campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1835, Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak constructed a two room academic building (pictured above, circa 1900) directly across the wagon road from his home. This was the second such structure Rev. Doak had built on his property to house his growing Tusculum Academy. By 1840, Tusculum Academy, having continued to prosper, increased its enrollment to 70 students effectively outgrowing the small academy building. Rev. Doak decided it was time to build a third and more substantial building to house his growing school.
Several hundred citizens, from as far away as Philadelphia and Baltimore, including state legislator Andrew Johnson, subscribed a total of $4,245.62 in cash and in-kind for the construction and equipping of the new building. The building contained space for a chapel, classrooms, an assembly room, the library, two literary societies, and the President’s Office. The first classes were held on the first Wednesday in October 1841.
“This institution was revived in the year 1834 and has enjoyed growing prosperity up to the present time and without any expense to the public until the year 1841. The institution is furnished with a convenient, comfortable and handsome brick edifice 68 feet long, 36 feet wide, and two stories high. It is located four miles east of Greeneville, East Tennessee, having all the advantages of a [college] in a town as yet free from all its disadvantages, on a beautiful eminence, that commands a delightful view of the distant mountains and the surrounding farms and forrest.”
– Samuel W. Doak, 1841
Since the development of other college buildings beginning in 1887, Old College has served as a dormitory, classrooms and faculty apartments. In 1993, the exterior of the building was restored to its 19th century appearance and its use turned to house the College Archives, the Andrew Johnson Collection, and Tusculum’s Museum Studies Program.
The Old Oak, the large, white-oak tree that sits on the Tusculum College campus next to Old College has officially been added to the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council’s Tennessee Landmark and Historic Tree Register. http://www.tufc.com/registries.html
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