Opened in 1912, the James H. Carlisle Memorial Hall was the college’s first large residence hall. Before Carlisle Hall, most students had to find places to live off campus. Fir the college’s first sixty years, students either lived in the village or they boarded with the professors who lived on campus (Imagine that – living with your professor!). Some students lived in unused rooms in Main Building, and some lived in Alumni Hall – the building that now houses the Admission and Financial Aid offices. Carlisle Hall was paid for by donations from Spartanburg citizens and cost about $55,000.
The following story from The Journal tells of the opening of the residence hall:
Every student in College is pleased with the new dormitory. Only Freshmen and Sophomores are accommodated, but the boys from the two upper classes were anxious to get rooms in it. Every convenience is furnished – electric lights, steam heat, bath rooms – everything is handy and comfortable. One hundred and fifty-five boys room in the building and one hundred and eighty take meals in the dining hall. There is no faculty restriction whatever over the boys. Each student is placed on his honor as a man to act as such. The dormitory students elected a president, Mr. G. H. Hodges, the only Senior in the building. He is assisted by an executive committee and nine monitors.
The duty of each monitor is to report to the president any misconduct that happens on the floor assigned to him. The matter is then looked into by the president and the executive committee and turned over to the Faculty. So far this system of student government has been carried out with much better success than the Faculty management could ever attain. The boys are brought into closer touch with each other. They know and are known, which is one of the finest things of a dormitory life.
Mr. D. L. Betts, a graduate of 1910 who has been teaching in the Carlisle Fitting School since he finished college, superintends everything in connection with the dormitory. Mr. Betts is characterized by a business ability that will mean success in the affairs of the Carlisle Hall.
Carlisle Hall remained in use as a residence until the late 1960s. After the last students moved out, it served as a home for various campus offices. In its early years, the Wofford Theatre Workshop was housed there.
The college demolished Carlisle Hall in May 1981. A newspaper account of the building’s demolition included reminiscences from several alumni, including ninety-two year old George H. Hodges ‘13, a retired Methodist minister living in Spartanburg, the senior in 1912 who had been the first president of the dormitory.
Photos (click on each for a larger image in a pop-up window) George H. Hodges ’13 as a senior; Carlisle Hall in the early 1950s; students with a banner on the roof of the residence hall’s portico, the cornerstone being removed in 1981.