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Ragsdale Hall

Building History
Other Names: Ragsdale Faculty Club and Ragsdale DormitoryRagsdale
Date Built: 1923
Date Razed:
Cost of Construction: $146,168
Gross Square Feet: 41,144
Assignable Square Feet: 23,579
Architects: H.A. Underwood, Raleigh, NC

Namesake: William Henry Ragsdale (1855-1914) a Wake Forest Graduate, was superintendent of Pitt County Schools from 1891-1898 and again from 1900-1914. He was also one of the key organizers of the campaign to establish a normal school in Eastern North Carolina. After the establishment of East Carolina Teachers Training School (ECTTS), he served on the Board of Trustees, was a member of the faculty, and taught Public School Administration.

A brief biography of W.H. Ragsdale appeared in the April, May, June 1914 issue of the Training School Quarterly. It is as follows:

    W.H. Ragsdale was born in 1855 and received his training at a time when the general impression prevailed that anybody who could read and write and cipher could teach school. But in that day there were some men and women teaching school whose chief qualifications were not their attainments in scholarship but a warm heart, a big soul, and a strong personality. Ragsdale, the boy, came under the spell of some one of this type who inspired him to prepare himself as well as possible for life's work, and he was graduated from Wake Forest College with distinction.

    He began his work as teacher in a private boy's school in Scotland Neck. He soon came from that school to Greenville and engaged in the school work in a private school familiarly known a dozen years ago as the Male Academy.

    The history of his work here is indelibly written on the hearts and interpreted in the lives of the men who were the boys of those days and his scholars. His success as a teacher is best told in the loving terms in which "his boys" invariably delight to speak of their teacher and friend.

    While he was still engaged in the private school work he was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction of Pitt County. At that time a County Superintendent was not expected to do much work, and the salary was much smaller than the work.

    Mr. Ragsdale kept up the duties of his school and of his new office to which he had been elected until the Greenville Graded Schools were established in 1903. From that time on he devoted his entire time and energies to the county schools. A correct esitmate of his work in this County cannot be made, but a comparison of conditions expresed in figures will give some insight into his work.

    In 1899 the white school census was 5,157 and the number enrolled in the schools was 2,975. The average school term was 73 days. The value of the school property for the white race was $7,540. As late as 1903 the best public school building in the County, including the towns, was the one-room frame building which was the home of the Greenville Male Academy, to which reference has been made.

    In 1912 the white school census was 6,965 and the enrollment was 5,665. The average school term was 101 days for the schools generally and 160 days for the local tax districts. The value of the school property for the white race was $85,000.

    These figures tell the story of tireless labor, undaunted energy, prophetic vision, hope, love and diplomacy. His optimism and faith in humanity inspired men and women, both teachers and citizens, to do their best and to be their best. His persistent and cheerful efforts in behalf of the children of all the people met with a glad response. To him a little child was greater than anything of a material nautre, greater than his own salary and his own comfort, and to-day the children of this County rise up and bless his memory.

    The loss sustained in the death of Mr. Ragsdale is keenly felt in his town, in his County, and in the educational circles of the State, but it is not felt more keenly anywhere than in the faculty of the Training School. Just what he meant to us in our work cannot be told in words. He was with this school in its beginning -- even long before it had a beginning he was sowing the seed which ripened into an irresistible demand for it

    History: The first wing of Ragsdale was built in 1923 and provided urgent needed housing for female faculty members. The facility has served as a dormitory for students, the first home for the School of Medicine, administrative offices, and currently houses the Graduate School and Sponsored Programs.

    1947 - Three wings on the second and third floors house approximately 40 women of the faculty and administrative staff. On the east wing live superintendant of grounds J.L. Russel, director of the bookstore Z.W. Frazells, and a small group of male students. Nine veterans and their wives live downstairs in the west wing and have rooms large enough to be called apartments. Each unit is separated due to some slight remodeling.

    1988 - Social Work moves into Ragsdale Hall after previously being housed in Carol Belk Building.

    January 1996 - The Department of communication moved from Ragsdale into Erwin. Womens studies, Writing Across the Curriculum, and the Faculty Development Center moved into Ragsdale.

    Additions:

    1938 - basement was renovated to house 30 male students

    1953 - a wing was added onto the building

    Other renovations that took place over time include plumbing, removal of certain walls, and electrical upgrades.

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