||Old Main, completed in 1887, was the first building constructed on the Baylor campus after the University’s move from Independence, Washington County. Because of Baylor’s limited resources, the building served as the primary location for both classes and offices for several years. The building also served as headquarters for a number of campus religious organizations, housed Baylor’s 3,000-volume library, and served as the location of the University’s radio studio and tower. All of these facilities were contained in a structure that held 17 classrooms and 24 offices and functioned as the heart of the University.
Old Main was one of several campus structures damaged during the tornado that destroyed much of downtown Waco on May 11, 1953. Concerns for public safety stemming from the weakening of the spires on both Old Main and Burleson Hall led to the removal of the spires later that year. During the 1960s University officials faced the decision to demolish the historic structure or complete extensive restoration. The decision to save the building came at an opportune time, after a november 1969 fire caused minor damage to the building’s interior. Full restoration of the building and a rededication ceremony came in 1976.
Architect William Larmour designed this prominent building, which exhibits elements of the Italianate and Gothic architectural styles. Limestone window hoods and string courses contrast with the red brick construction, and the pyramidal spires at the corners and the center of the main façade have made the building a landmark for generations. Today, Old Main remains as a constant link to Baylor tradition through years of change.