The oldest and most distinctive building on JCSU’s campus, Biddle Hall was erected in 1883 to serve as the main administrative center for the university. Before it was renamed Johnson C. Smith in 1922, the school was called Biddle University in honor of Major Henry Biddle, who was killed in 1862 fighting for the Union Army in the Civil War. School lore holds that the bricks of the new building were laid by candlelight by recently freed slaves, and they were certainly assisted by students with the school's industrial program at the time. The building featured classrooms and a 600-seat audience chamber, and the distinctive clock tower was added atop the building in 1925. Biddle Memorial Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and it was completely renovated and restored in 2004. It serves as the home for the President’s Office, Financial, Student, Academic Affairs, Institutional Advancement, the Alumni Center, and many other important functions.

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