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Byrum Hall

AU's Oldest Building

Byrum Hall is the oldest building on Anderson University campus; in fact, it is the only remaining building that stood on the original Anderson Bible Training School campus. Built in 1908, Byrum Hall first served as the camp meeting tabernacle for the Church of God after the headquarters moved to Anderson in 1906. Byrum Hall is also the location where Like a Mighty Army was filmed.

Though most of the labor was donated and window frames from the Moundsville Gospel Trumpet Home in West Virginia were reused, construction costs were approximately $10,385. The concrete blocks were made by hand on-site. 

In 1936, Byrum Hall was renovated and converted into a gymnasium for Anderson College students. The labor was mainly provided by students, who worked for 15-25 cents an hour. The finished gym, called "The Roundhouse," included a basketball court, where Anderson College athletes like Jumpin' Johnny Wilson played, as well as a small stage where events such as baccalaureate and Model United Nations were held. After the O. C. Lewis Gymnasium was built, Byrum Hall was set to be demolished, but a fire at the Anderson College Music Hall required its transformation into a women's gym and temporary convocation space.

The building was remodeled again in 1974 with the help of a Lilly Endowment, when it became an auditorium for music and theatre performances, holding 545 seats. To celebrate its new role as an auditorium, Byrum Hall was re-dedicated with the new Adam Miller Chapel on June 17th, 1975. The first performance, The President's Showcase, was held on January 27th, 1975.

On November 20th, 1978, a public hearing was held by the Historic Preservation Commission to discuss designating Byrum Hall as a historic site. By 1979, it had been designated as a historic building of Madison County.

Throughout its long history, Byrum Hall has also been known as Tabernacle Hall, Convocation Hall, and the Old Gymnasium. In the summer of 1974, the name was officially changed to Byrum Hall in honor of the Byrum family, who were prominent in Church of God and Anderson University history. In the early years of the Church of God, brothers Enoch and Noah Bryum were editor and business manager of the Gospel Trumpet, respectively. Robert Byrum was an architect and builder and designed Byrum Hall. Russell Byrum was a writer, pastor, and teacher at Anderson Bible Training School. Bessie Byrum, married to Russell, was also part of the ABTS faculty, as well as a missionary in the Church of God. Ruthven Byrum studied at the Chicago Arts Institute and went on to found the Anderson College arts department, which he also chaired. 

References

  • "Byrum Hall" Booklet, A.C./A.U. Buildings Documents, Anderson University and Church of God Archives
  • Callen, Barry L. Guide of Soul and Mind: The Story of Anderson University. Anderson: Warner Press, 1992. Print.
  • "Campus Buildings" Folder, A.C./A.U. Buildings Documents, Anderson University and Church of God Archives