Local News

Wake Forest College Birthplace Wants to Preserve Old Well

Posted September 3, 2000

— You have heard of the old well at UNC-Chapel Hill. But there's another old well -- in the town of Wake Forest.

The Southeastern Baptist Seminary is renovating its campus and decided to take down their "Old Well."

Historically, the well served as a gathering point for students. In very old days, college students used the well to drink from.

The old well held its ground for 180 years. Now it is just a brown patch of earth. Like so many other things about this campus, the shelter and fountain have moved to a new home.

"Right now, it's in about 20 or 30 different pieces in two piles in the back yard of the college birthplace society," says John Cook, the director of the College Birthplace Society.

The society wants to raise $6500 to put the marble, wood and copper back together.

Even though the well is not in its original location, it is reunited with a familiar friend. Before there was a college, there was the Calvin Jones House, built in 1820. It was served by a hand-powered water pump.

Since then, the Jones home has survived four moves. It is now the home of the College Birthplace Society.

Society members are piecing together the history of the old well, just as they have the many other bits and artifacts rescued over the years.

"I grew up in the town here in Wake Forest. In the good ol' college days," says alumnus Marable Sawyer.

Sawyer also remembers when the good ol' college days ended in 1956 -- when Wake Forest left Wake Forest.

"It was a devastating period for the people who were left here," Sawyer says.

Today, the campus still buzzes with Baptists. The Jones home still greets visitors hungry for the past.

"So we consider this to be a pearl," says Susan Brinkley, a member of the College Birthplace Society. "And to have the old well as the part of that is extremely siginificant to our history."

Together again after 180 years.

"And we just want to share it with everybody," Brinkley says.

Wake Forest College first opened as Wake Forest Institute in 1834.


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