Remembering Old Main
Five floors, 80 beds, and 55 years of “service to the sick”
– the original building of NC Baptist Hospital, affectionately named Old Main,
was torn down piece by piece in 1978. It opened to the first patient on May 26,
As Egbert L. Davis Jr., former hospital trustee, stated on a
day remembering Old Main: We’re not tearing down; we are renewing for
Old Main was no longer feasible for office space and patient
care and in its place, as part of the Medical Center’s Challenge Program, the
six-story Focus Building was constructed. It became known as Watlington Hall.
But the first crash of the 5,000-pound wrecking ball into
Old Main came on the morning of October 24th, 1978. The brick maker who made
the molding bricks for Old Main was there. Mr. George Black was 100 years old
in 1978 and had made the first brick for Old Main some 56 years ago. He and his
brother Will started a brick company in in 1889.
Even though it was cold, many folks watched as the five
floors carefully came down. The fifth floor served as a home for the student
nurses before radiology moved in; the fourth floor was obstetrics with the
third and second for infants and children/medicine respectively.
About a month later, people gathered in Davis Chapel to
remember Old Main. Dr. Mahan Siler, director of the hospital’s Department of
Pastoral Care, described the service as “a time to pause, to remember, to give
thanks and to review our vision.” And he added: “Old Main, in a Biblical sense,
is a holy place.”