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Furman History and Traditions

Historic Stained Glass from Judson Alumni Hall

Judson Alumni Hall

The Furman Course Catalog of 1899-1900 describes the new Alumni Hall that had just been erected on the downtown campus at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. 

"The building is modern in construction and contains, besides two lecture rooms and two spacious halls for the Adelphian and Philosophian Societies, a large auditorium  . . . will seat nearly a thousand persons . . . . The windows of the entire building are of opal art glass, affording a soft mellow light with a pleasing effect."

The building was later named the Judson Alumni Hall in honor of long-time professor and Dean Dr. Charles H. Judson. 

The 1900 Commencement exercises were held in the new building, and visitors to that function immediately commented on the fifteen stained-glass windows fixed inside the Hall. Manufactured by the F.J. Cooledge Art Glass Company of Atlanta, the windows figured prominently in The Baptist Courier’s descriptions of the Commencement.

“It was a happy thought of the building committee,” the Courier wrote, “to adopt the memorial window feature.” “The windows place[d] before the students and the coming generations the names of men who helped to make the University and the denomination (Baptists) in South Carolina.”[i]

Information, unfortunately, is sketchy as to the creation of the windows. At least one window’s birth, however, appears to originate from funds collected by the Spartanburg Baptist Association. The Association Minutes list the cost of a window as approximately $200.00, and the Association resolved to raise the money necessary for one window.[ii]

Most of the window panels were saved when the downtown campus was razed in the 1960s. The panels were crated and put in storage, not to be accessed again until 2003 when the James B. Duke Library was undergoing renovation. The panels currently grace the library and other buildings on campus.

 

[i] “The Alumni Hall.” 21 June 1900. The Baptist Courier, p. 5.

[ii] Minutes of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Session of the Spartanburg Baptist Association. 1900. Greenville: Keys & Thomas, p. 7.

Historic Photographs