First Administration Buildings
College Hall, the first building to be constructed on the present-day campus in Commerce, was completed in January 1895. The building included a bell tower, six classrooms, two offices, a library, and an auditorium. In 1905-1906, using funds donated by the citizens of Commerce, the building was renovated and a brick facade was added to the original wooden structure. The newly renovated building was destroyed by fire on January 28, 1907. Not only was classroom space lost, but laboratory equipment, library books, and school records as well. Instructional space was temporarily allocated to the dormitories.
College Hall was located near the present-day Mayo gravesite. While many accounts describe the building as facing north towards Lee Street, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from the time consistently depict the building facing Monroe Street.
The second administrative building in Commerce was affectionately known as “Old Main.” It was constructed using funds donated by the citizens of Commerce following the fire that destroyed College Hall. Construction was completed in February 1908. Old Main was a beloved building and was often featured prominently in publications and advertisements for the college. The three-story brick building contained 15 classrooms, two administrative offices, small faculty offices, and an auditorium. Although it was one of the final Mayo buildings on campus, it was demolished in 1950.