“In February of 1965, the ‘Old Pullen Hall’ building was destroyed by arson.”
Franki Grigioni, B.A., Art Studies (Film)
“Pullen Hall Fire” (1965)
16mm film (orig.)
In February of 1965, the “Old Pullen Hall” building was destroyed by arson. This building, which remains well-known at North Carolina State University, was originally built in 1903. It was located between Primrose Hall and Peele Hall—what is now the parking lot for Peele Hall. It had various purposes over the years, such as a library, dining hall, and even an auditorium. At the time of the fire, its classrooms were likely occupied by students of the newly established School of Design, according to John L. Atkins III, former Student Body President. Today’s “New Pullen Hall,” located at Dan Allen Dr. on NCSU’s north campus, was built in 1990 and is now used for student affairs offices.
During the months leading up to the fire, a string of “nuisance fires” had been reported across campus. These fires accounted for minimal damages and no injuries, but remained open under investigation. The investigation ultimately determined that the destruction of Old Pullen was the work of a serial arsonist, dubbed “the firebug,” who was suspected to be either a current or former student. However, with no one immediately under questioning, fear grew across campus. Students and faculty were constantly on edge; another fire was a strong possibility, which could have occurred anywhere, at any moment.
Pullen Hall, fire (Raleigh, N.C.), circa 1965-02. Credit: Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries.
The Technician, April 15, 1966. Credit: Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries.
Pullen Hall (Raleigh, NC), circa 1930. Credit: Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries.
Pullen Hall, ruins (Raleigh, NC), circa 1965-02. Credit: Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries.
Note: Franki Grigioni researched another film which you can find here.