Buildings and Grounds 215
thought it had the sweetest and at the same time the strongest and
most commanding tone of all the bells in the world.
It was on February 14, 1934, that Wingate Memorial Hall was
destroyed. The fire started at the southern end where there was a
staircase connecting the chapel above to the physics laboratory below.
The second story was already a sea of flames when the fire was first
discovered, and that part of the building with all in it was a total loss,
the most regrettable loss being that of the portraits that hung on the
walls, of which mention has already been made.
Another fire was that of the high school building of the public
school on the night of May 31, 1934. Its origin was never determined.
In addition a fire was discovered, soon after the burning of Wingate
Memorial Hall, in the Hunter Dormitory. It had started in the toilet of
the central section. About the same time the Golf House, a wooden
structure just outside the town limits on the south side of the Durham
highway, was burned to the ground one night about two o'clock.
Other fires were set to burn two dwellings but one was ineffective and
the other was found in time. The final fire was on the first floor of the
Alumni Building, which had been started in a pile of rubbish
evidently collected for the purpose. This was set before midnight and
was found and put out at once. There was much speculation about the
origin of all these fires. Many thought all were of incendiary origin,
and there is every indication that all except those that destroyed the
first two college buildings and the high school building were of that
nature. With regard to these, however, some who made careful
investigation were convinced that they could easily be accounted for
on the score of carelessness in the case of the college buildings and of
spontaneous combustion for the high school building.
The William Amos Johnson Medical Building was constructed
during the winter of 1932-33, and was ready for occupation with the
opening of the next session. It was erected with funds provided by the
Johnson Family as a memorial to Dr. William Amos Johnson, who
was professor of Anatomy in the Wake Forest