A A A print this page

Old Main Makes Way for Murrah Hall

Old Main burningAt 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 28, 1914, a raging fire destroyed Old Main, a building which had served as the center of college events for almost 22 years.

A number of students discovered the fire in its early stages. The students immediately sounded the fire alarm and began battling the blaze. Although the flames proved to be beyond their control, students still refused to abandon the effort, risking life and limb to save many of the valuable articles in the building. Two portraits which hung in the Main chapel, the piano, and the organ were among the many items saved. Valuable property from the college bookstore, also located in the building, was hurriedly thrown from windows just before the stifling fumes made further rescue work impossible.

Old Main, which had been built in 1892, was the oldest building on campus before the electrical fire that destroyed it took place. The structure was built by the combined efforts of the people of Jackson, the Methodists of Mississippi, and the many members of the Millsaps family.

According to the subsequent edition of the Millsaps Purple & White, the student newspaper, "It was a building dear to every Millsaps man. Many an alumni was saddened by the news of the fire, and many a student watching the conflagaration felt almost that a friend was passing away. But no demoralization was caused by this loss, and now everything is in due order. The one question is not 'How did it happen,' but 'What will the new building be?' All will rally soon - Hurrah for a Greater Millsaps!"

On the site of the Old Main building, the college erected Murrah Hall, which still stands today. The building, which underwent a comprehensive renovation in 1981, now houses the Else School of Management and the Modern Languages department.