370 History
Wake Forest College
ceilings artistically decorated, and from them suspended large and
brilliant chandeliers carrying many lamps, first for oil and later for
gas; rich carpets were laid on the floors; of heavy walnut were the
president's rostrum and chairs, and the chairs on the floor, carrying in
the back shaped in the walnut the Greek letters that indicated the
Philomathesian or the Euzelian Society. Each Society also had a small
table on which were laid elegant albums containing portraits of
former members and a few books in expensive bindings. In the end of
the hall opposite the president's chair the Philomathesians set a ten-
foot mirror in a handsome frame, the Euzelians a large clock. On the
walls were hung painted portraits of former members and honorary
members, done by the best artists of the time. It was intended that the
halls should impress visitors by their splendor, and they did: the
opinion was often expressed by traveled men that no more beautiful
halls were to be found in America, while young lady friends
introduced into the halls at the evening receptions at Anniversary and
Commencement might well have been dazzled by the brilliant lights
and costly furnishings and have believed themselves in fairy land.5
The following from the records of the Philomathesian Society for December 3,
1884, being part of a report of a committee consisting of W. J. Sholar, C. G. Wells
and T. E. Cheek, indicate the methods the societies pusued in furnishing their halls:
"We your committee, report that it is impossible to dispose of the old chairs to any
dealer. Consequently, we cannot make any exchange. The only plan is to sell a few
of the old chairs to churches in the country. We have carefully studied all the
designs of chairs that could be obtained, and find nothing suitable, combining
beauty and durability. So we drew a design and sent it to several dealers, and had
them make bids on it. The lowest price was $8.25 each, the chairs to be made of
black walnut, cushioned seat and upholstered in red plush. We also ascertained price
of sofa and have selected one handsomely finished in red plush trimmings with old
gold. We could not decide on stand chairs. So we submit two designs. Three chairs
like No. 4 will cost $76.80, and like No. 114 will cost $59.20. Your committee
recommends to the Society that it purchase the following, provided the balance not
in the treasury can be borrowed of Dr. Simmons: 72 chairs at $8.25 each, $594.00.
Two sofas, $23.00 each, $16.00. Three stand chairs, $59.20. This does not include
freight, which will be about $40.00." The final bill paid on February 3, 1887, was
$737.18. The old president's chair and the two smaller stand chairs were sold to the
Louisburg Baptist Church.
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