On March 12, 2012, Old Main was added to the National Register of Historic Places and last fall an assessment was completed to determine what would be required to restore Old Main.
Since then it has been determined that $5.5 million would need to be raised to begin a restoration of Old Main. The project would restore all of the important common spaces such as the hallways, lobby, Chapel Hall and stairways back to their original state. Secondary spaces, such as classrooms and offices, would receive complimentary designs to the original architecture, but will have the appearance and technological capabilities of a modern building.
$5.5 million is needed to begin the restoration project and the project would include repairing, replacing or updating the following:
History of Old Main
- Cleaning and tuck pointing masonry
- Replacing windows
- Rebuilding of cupola
- Building a new rear entry structure and hipped roof over the addition
- Restoring decorative architectural elements
- Upgrading to new mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems
- Installing new sprinkler and fire alarm systems
- Adding a new elevator
- Upgrading to new communication and data systems
- Installing new rated doors and frames
- Repairing floors
- Adding new restrooms
- Designed by Hubert T. McGee, a native of Jacks Creek, TN, graduate of one of FHU’s predecessor institutions. Other notable McGee designs include the Chester County Courthouse, Hardeman House, Hall-Roland Hall, and most notably, Clarence Saunders’ Pink Palace in Memphis.
- In November 1907 the cornerstone was laid.
- In September 1908 construction was completed in time for the start of the fall term.
- Original cost of construction was $35,000. Because of their confidence that the new school would be successful, Freed and Hardeman personally assumed the responsibility for the mortgage on the building.
- Old Main reflects early 20th century Italian Renaissance Revival and Italianate-style elements.
- It features a centered, two-story portico with brick arches and Ionic columns, buff-colored brick, limestone keystones, brick quoins, gabled dormers, and domed cupola with bell.
- Old Main was constructed by local craftsmen, local labor and local resources. Bricks were kilned on Mill Street in Henderson and it is believed all timbers were processed on site.