200 History of Wake Forest College
when the small chapel was remodeled and used to enlarge the quarters
of the department of physics.
In the center of the front pediment of the building was set a marble
slab inscribed: "Washington Manly Wingate, President of Wake
Forest College, 1854-1879." The money for this was collected by
Rev. J. S.
In the fire that laid it in ashes on February 14,
1934, most of the apparatus of the physics laboratory and furnishings
of the classrooms of the lower floor were saved, but everything on the
second story, including the valuable portraits, was lost.
The erection of the next building, Lea Laboratory, made possible a
long cherished purpose of the Board of Trustees and other far-seeing
friends of the College and provided for the adequate teaching of
chemistry. A renewed interest in the matter was shown by the
Trustees at their meeting in June, 1884, and a committee appointed to
This committee had nothing to report in the way of
accomplishment at the meeting in June, 1885, but President Charles
E. Taylor, in the first year of his presidency, brought the matter again
before the Trustees, and in response to his request the Board
appointed another committee, which consisted of President Taylor
and Professors L. R. Mills and W. B.
This committee was
more successful. It found just the friend needed in Mr. Sidney S. Lea
of Caswell County. As we have already seen, it was Mr. Lea who
with a subscription of $5,000 gave the starting impulse to Professor
Taylor's successful campaign to bring the endowment to $100,000.19
He now agreed to give $8,000 towards the erection of a laboratory for
chemistry. It was at first provided that Mr. Lea should receive interest
at eight per cent on this amount during his lifetime and that of his
wife, but later Mr. Lea indicated that he would not call for the interest
unless he needed it, and it does not appear that he ever called for it.20
In January, 1887,
16 Biblical Recorder.
Proceedings, 289. June 12, 1884.
18 Proceedings, 298, 305, June, 1885.
Volume II, Chapter XVIII.
20 Proceedings, 318-19, June, 1886; p. 326-327, February, 1887.