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McGinnis Theatre

Building History
Other Names: McGinnis AuditoriumMcGinnis
Date Built: 1951
Date Razed:
Cost of Construction: $361,775
Gross Square Feet: 23,892
Assignable Square Feet: 16,575
Architects: A.J. Maxwell, Goldsboro, NC

Namesake: Howard Justus McGinnis (1882-1971), a Ph.D. recipient from George Peabody College, was a psycology professor (1927-1944) and registrar (1928-1947) at East Carolina. From May 1944 through August 1946, Dr. McGinnis served as acting president of the college. After Dr. Dennis Cooke was hired as president, Dr, McGinnis continued as registrar another year and then became director of field services until his retirement in 1950.

History: Built adjacent to Wahl-Coates School (the Practice School), this auditorium was to serve as the school auditorium and the college theatre. Today Wahl Coates School and now attached auditorium are being used as the Messick Theatre Arts Center and they now house the Theatre Arts Department. In 1981, the auditorium underwent considerable renovations.

McGinnis The following is an exerpt from the October 27, 1994 addition of the Daily Reflector.

    Like many theaters, it seems ECU's McGinnis Auditorium is haunted.

    Some people, mostly students, say the ghost of Dr. Lucille Charles, a professor from 1946 to 1953, lives in the building.

    Dr. Charles makes noise and flies by, as reported by a group of students who say they saw a figure in white float across the stage. They followed it down the hall into an empty room which was unnaturally cold.

    Another night during rehearsals, students heard a door slamming repeatedly.Before they could reach it, the lights went out. As they came back on, the slamming stopped.

    Others have felt cold spots, seen lights go on and off, briefly smelled perfume and heard loud,lengthy noises. Things have disappeared and suddenly reappeared.

    Some believe they have caputured her voice, singing, on tape. A recording was made of a woman playing the piano and a man was singing. When they re-played the tape, a woman was heard singing along. They tried it again, the results were the same.

    Another version said that only a woman was heard. Still another claims there was no singing, only the piano.

    In another incident a student heard a piano playing. When he approached the room, the playing stopped and the room was empty. As he turned to leave he closed the door and the music resumed. Opening the door, he found the room empty and quiet.

    One of the stranger incidents involved a man who brought two dogs in his arms, to the auditorium.When he entered a certain room, the dogs began to bark and wimper. They jumped out of his arms, ran wildly for a few seconds, and then dashed out of the room. When he tried to take them back, they would not go. The owner persisted, but they would not enter the room.

1964 - air conditioning, Fenner & Proffitt, Wilson, NC
1981 - renovations

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