Auburn Family

A Glimpse at Five of Auburn University's Earliest Buildings

If you have ever been on Auburn University’s campus, you know how rich its history is. Much of the university’s past comes from the historic buildings that have been around for many years. What began in 1859 as an all male college, is today recognized as one of the largest universities in Alabama. Here is a glimpse at five of Auburn University’s earliest buildings: 

1. Katharine Cooper Cater Hall, also known as the Old President’s Mansion or Social Center, was built in 1915. It was built as the president’s home, but converted in 1938 to the social center after the new President’s home was built. It was designed by Joseph Hudnut and cost $17,000 to build. It was named in honor of Katharine C. Cater, who served as dean of women from 1946 to 1976, then about four years as dean of student life and social director. Cater Hall now holds the campus’s education support services division. This building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo credit: Abby Daughtry) (Source:

2. Langdon Hall is the oldest building in the city of Auburn. It was built in 1846 as “The Chapel” for the Auburn Female College, and moved to Auburn’s campus in 1883. The chapel was renamed Langdon Hall, after Charles Carter Langdon in 1889. He was a former mayor of Mobile, Alabama, Alabama Secretary of State, and college trustee. Before the Civil War, it was used as a center for debates on the Southern secession. During the Civil War, it was used as a hospital for Confederate troops. Today, it serves as an auditorium and personnel office. (Photo credit: Abby Daughtry) (Source:

3. The Auburn University Chapel is the 2nd oldest building in the city of Auburn and the oldest building in its original location on campus. It was built in 1851 as a Presbyterian church. It was also used as a hospital during the Civil War. Later, it became used for classrooms after the main college burned in 1887. After it was traded to the college for a different lot, it was used as a theater by the Auburn Players for about 40 years. This building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. There is a legend that states the building was haunted by a ghost named “Sydney”, who was a Confederate soldier and died in the chapel while it was being used as a hospital. This legend was even investigated on a popular television show on the History Channel. (Photo credit: Abby Daughtry) (Source:

4. Samford Hall was built to replace “Old Main” after it was destroyed by a fire on June 24th, 1887. It was constructed using some of the bricks salvaged from the Old Main building. It has served as a classroom space, hospital, and library. The lawn in front of Samford Hall has had numerous celebrations, events, and ceremonies take place on it. It is one of the most historic and iconic buildings on Auburn’s campus. The most recognized part of the building is the clock tower. Originally, the bell rang every hour for classes. Now, an electrically controlled clock marks the time. It was named after Governor William James Samford in 1929. Samford Hall currently serves as administrative headquarters for the university. (Photo credit: Abby Daughtry) 

5.Old Main was the first building on Auburn’s campus. It was built in 1859 as a main building for the East Alabama Male College at a cost of $75,000. It began being used as a hospital during the Civil War until classes resumed in 1866. In 1887, the building burned down resulting in Samford Hall being built. (Photo credit: Auburn University)

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