Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


James Allen Bray Administration Building

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Institution Name: Lane College
Original/Historic Place Name: Main Building
Location on Campus: Historic District facing Lane Ave. (south)
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1895original construction Heavner, R. A.
1905rebuilding after 1904 fire Unknown
2000renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: cement
Walls: brick
Roof: asphalt
ca. 1895residence hall (boys, housed 80)
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)administration

Significance: culture, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterLane College Historic District (1987). Lane College Historic District (boundary increase) (1991)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Originally built in 1895, the Main Building was the first brick building constructed by the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church for any purpose. It was a three-story brick building with malleable iron. The building was destroyed by fire in 1904 and rebuilt in 1905. The new building had exterior walls of brick trimmed with terra cotta. It originally contained twelve recitation rooms and a dormitory for boys (80 boarders). In later years it also housed the college chapel and the McFerrin library.

The Main Building (sometimes referred to as the A Building) was renamed Bray Hall in honor of Prof. James Allen Bray, the second president of the college. It was renovated in 2000 with assistance from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Bray Hall is considered the crown jewel of the campus. It currently houses the offices of the President, Divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Business and Finance, along with one large multi-purpose classroom that can be divided into three classrooms and four individual classrooms.

The architect, Reuben A. Heavner of Jackson, began his architectural practice in 1904 after ten years experience as a draftsman. The main hall at Lane College was one of Heavner's first main contracts, and he would later go on to specialize in designing school buildings and churches throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and other southern states. Upon its completion the main hall was described by the Bureau of Education Study on "Negro Education" as "one of the best constructed buildings of any Negro school."

The celebration of the completion of the main hall was also complemented by the first graduating class of the college in 1906. Of its two graduating members, one went on to become a church pastor while the other became a professor at Tyler College. At the end of 1907, Reverend Bray retired and was replaced by Professor James T. Lane, son of the school's founder Bishop Isaac Lane. Lane was a graduate of Walden University and had been a teacher at Lane for several years before his appointment.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Campus Master Plan. 1991. Lane College, Jackson, TN.

Campus Plan. 1968. Lane College, Jackson, TN.

Cooke, Anna L. Lane College: Its Heritage and Outreach, 1882-1982. Jackson, TN: Lane College, 1987.

Facilities Master Plan Update. [Jackson, TN: Lane College], 2001.

Murphy, Kimberley A., and Thomason, Philip. Lane College Historic District [Boundary Increase]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1991.

Thomason, Philip. Lane College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1987.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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