Buildings and Grounds 193
Williams, who seems to have been the first to become interested, was
the more ready to give for the erection of the building because of his
strong friendship for Dr. William Gaston Simmons, who since 1855
had been teaching the three fundamental sciences of physics,
chemistry, and natural history (biology), in very narrow quarters in
the Old College Building. It was natural for a friend to desire that a
man of Dr. Simmons' recognized ability and zeal for the study of the
sciences should have ample facilities for teaching them. And that this
desire was uppermost in the minds of those who were planning the
building is evident from the name, "Science Hall," which was first
used to describe
it.6
With the money already provided by Heck and Williams, Pritchard
saw to it that there was no delay in beginning the actual construction
of the building. He arranged that the corner stone should be laid on
Thursday of commencement week, 1878, with fitting ceremonies and
had notice of it put in the Raleigh papers, both the Observer and the
News, several weeks
before.7
As befitted the importance of the
occasion Major J. C. Winder, General Superintendent of the Raleigh
and Gaston Railroad, had a special train run to Wake Forest to bring
those who wished to be present at the laying of the corner stone and
the other events of the day. The exercises began at three o'clock in the
afternoon, with Judge John Kerr acting as chairman. The principal
speech was made by Dr. Pritchard, who was followed by Dr. Henry
McDonald, a Baptist minister of Richmond, and Judge Kerr. Then
after Dr. Pritchard had explained the plan of the new building, and
given proper credit to the donors, and the audience had heard a
resolution of thanks to Heck and Williams
―――――
6 It seems that the name, "Heck-Williams Building," was adopted by usage rather
than by formal action of the Board. It is first found in a report of a committee in the
minutes of the Board of Trustees of June, 1879. In the report of another committee,
to the same session of the Board, appointed to express proper appreciation to the
donors it was called Library Hall, and it was provided that in order to keep the
names of the donors fresh the hall on the first floor on the south end of the building
should be called Heck Hall and that on the north end Williams Hall. These names
were painted on the transoms over the doors of these halls looking to the east. They
were removed when the building was slightly remodeled in 1926.
7
Reprinted in the Biblical Recorder, May 15, 1878.
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