100 years ago today, near tragedy struck campus as fire destroyed the Washington Duke Building, one of the seven original buildings constructed after the college moved from Randolph County to Durham. The multi-purpose building held lecture halls and offices, as well 56 dorm rooms. With coal heating and rooms lit by candle and kerosene lamp, the returning students must have tried to heat up the building too quickly that cold January 4th. Fortunately, all escaped uninjured.
Plans were already in place to replace the building and the new West Duke Building had just been completed. East Duke Building would be completed the following year on roughly the same spot as the original Washington Duke Building.
- Duke Magazine “Retrospective” about the fire by Duke University Archivist Tim Pyatt.
- A first-hand account of the fire by L. M. Epps, Class of 1912.
- The original idea for replacing the building.
Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, Duke University Archivist.