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History, Department of Horticultural Science


As with many horticulture departments, growth was rather slow during the years prior to World War II. In 1945, there were 8 faculty members; now (2002), there are 52.

The North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation to establish the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1887 and its doors were opened in 1889. The Department of Horticulture, Arboriculture, and Botany was one of the 5 instructional departments established concurrently. A division of horticulture was also formed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture in The Experiment Station. Professor Wilbur Fisk Massey was elected chairman of both in November 1889.

The department was divided in 1901, when Biology was established, and subsequently was referred to as the Department of Horticulture. Professor Massey terminated his work with the College in 1903, but remained as professor of horticulture with the Experiment Station until 1905.

Horticulture at the College has retained departmental status since its origin, but the horticultural programs were divided between the Division of Horticulture in the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the College. In 1924, all research, extension, and instruction was transferred to the College. In addition, the Extension Service was administered separately until 1961 when the 3 functions were incorporated into the department.

Departmental Reports / Overviews

Important Events (also, see the NC State history site)

  • 1887: North Carolina College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts established
  • 1889: North Carolina College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts (photo) begins operation
  • 1889: Department of Horticulture, Arboriculture, and Botany one of original five departments
  • 1892: Primrose Hall with greenhouses (photo) built to house the Horticulture Department
  • 1916: Area near future location of Kilgore Hall (photo taken from Patterson Hall) is a pecan grove
  • 1917: School of Agriculture established (now the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
  • 1918: Campus beginning to develop (photo)
  • 1923: Graduate school established
  • 1926: First Ph.D. degree is awarded
  • 1931: University of North Carolina system is established with three campuses (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Greensboro)
  • 1938: Main campus area nicely filled in (photo)
  • 1950: School of Forestry established (now the College of Forestry and Natural Resources), sharing Kilgore Hall with Horticultural Science
  • 1953: Kilgore Hall construction completed and building dedicated (speech by Clarence Poe)
  • 1984: Centennial Campus established, adding 780 A to campus land area
  • 2002: 1,588 faculty; 28,000 students; 1,877A land area

Change in Facilities

Change over Time


  • Emeritus Faculty
  • Administrators
  • Senior Faculty
  • Junior Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Students

Historic Images

  • Images: 1887-1899
  • Images: 1900-1949
  • Images: 1950-1999

Department Heads