Main Building is the heart of the campus. Every student has taken a class there. Inside is the college bell, which rings the hour and tolls three times for each student: when they join the community as first-year students, at their graduation and on All Saints Day after their death.
Main Building, often considered the heart of Wofford, was designed in the Italianate style by Edward C. Jones of Charleston, one of the South’s most prominent architects at the time. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1851, and construction began in the summer of 1852, supervised by Ephraim Clayton of Asheville. Clayton built a number of celebrated buildings throughout the Carolinas, and research has shown that he used enslaved persons to do brick and woodwork. Clayton built all of Wofford’s original structures. The David Duncan Wallace history of the college (1854-1949) explains that tradition holds that all of those buildings were built using enslaved laborers. Wofford College has joined the Universities Studying Slavery consortium with the intent of, among other things, finding out more about the enslaved people who helped construct these buildings. In the east wing on the first floor of Main Building is a section of exposed original brick with an excerpt from Nikki Finney’s poem, “The Thinking Men.” Finney wrote the poem as a tribute to the enslaved people whose hands help create Wofford’s most iconic building. Every Wofford student has taken classes in Main.
Inside Main is the college bell, purchased in 1854 from the Meneely Bell Company in West Troy, New York. It weighs about 700 pounds and is 33 inches in diameter. It rings the hour on campus and tolls three times for each student: once when they join the community as first-year students, again at their graduation four years later, and finally on All Saints Day after their death.
Also in the building are a chapel and a masjid, Muslim prayer room. Photos of professors who have been given emeritus status and a memorial to Wofford students and graduates who died in military service are displayed on the first floor of the building.