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In 1975, Old Main was designated as a national historical landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Old Main, fondly known as "The Gut" to generations of Franklin College students and alumni, is comprised of three buildings: Chandler Hall, Bailey Hall, and Stott Hall, constructed in that order.
Chandler Hall is named for President George C. Chandler (1843-1849). The 36-room building was completed in 1847 and replaced the original 26 x 38 building on campus, which had been completed in the summer of 1836 at a cost of $350.
In 1854, the south wing was constructed about 50 feet south of Chandler. Named for President Silas Bailey (1852-1862), the building is identical in size to Chandler Hall but had no bell tower as did its predecessor. The bricks used in the construction of both Chandler and Bailey Halls were actually processed on campus grounds and have assumed their golden color only through years of weathering. They are thought to be among the finest examples of "gold brick" in the state.
Following the completion of Bailey Hall came a period of more than 30 years when no additional construction work was attempted. Construction of the center portion was begun in 1887. Named in honor of President William Stott (1872-1905), this connecting structure was completed in 1889.
An extensive renovation of Old Main was completed in 1987 following heavy fire damage that gutted the building in 1985. Old Main now houses many of the college's administrative and faculty offices and classrooms. It features the Custer Theatre and an historic classroom. The restored atrium features a seven-by-twelve stained glass seal of the college. The twelve stained glass windows (made by the George Misch Company of Chicago) in what was originally the chapel survived the 1985 fire and now adorn Custer Theatre. (The land upon which Old Main is located was the 1822 campsite of George King, founder of the town of Franklin.)