Watauga Residence Hall

Watauga Residence Hall

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Location: North Campus

Built First Building, 1893; Second Building, 1903; Renovated, 1985

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Located on the east campus of NC State, five-story Watauga Hall is the second residence hall by that name. The first was destroyed by fire in 1901, during Thanksgiving weekend. With the help of students who kept it wet enough to save it, Holladay Hall survived the fire, despite the fact that the heat could be felt as far as Hillsborough Street. Rebuilt in a restrained Romanesque Revival style, the dormitory became the site of numerous pranks. According to one story, a cannon that stood in front of the 1911 building was found one morning reassembled on Watauga's roof. On another occasion, a mule had been led up several flights of stairs to the top floor. One story is that the mule had to be blindfolded to be led down; another is that they had to lower the mule by sling and rope from an upper story window. The pranks are examples of the competition that would occur between the engineering and agriculture students. Later in the 1960's, the building became a dormitory for African American students and then for women students as a diverse student body began to arrive on campus in greater numbers. For brief periods, it housed offices for Personnel, Information Services, and Campus Planning.

The name of the building honors the famous Watauga Club, a group of young Raleigh professionals who pressed the legislature to establish NC State in order to break the bonds of narrow, "classical" education for the "elite" and to bring practical industrial and scientific education to the state. They urged the need for a school of industrial and mechanical arts to be combined with the agricultural college which was then being promoted by the farmers under Leonidas Polk (Polk Hall). The club still exists. Members included some of the men for whom other buildings on campus are named: William J. Peele, Josephus Daniels, Walter Hines Page, Charles W. Dabney and William Stuart Primrose. The official journal of the club was Page's State Chronicle, which later became part of the The News and Observer under Josephus Daniels.

The Watauga Club adopted its Indian name because "it suggested nothing in particular to the public, and had no particular connotations." In the intervening years, Watauga has come to represent a pioneering, forward-looking spirit.

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