Auburn Masonic Female College

Dublin Core


Auburn Masonic Female College


Education; Lee County, AL; Auburn Masonic Female College; Auburn, AL; Freemasons; Scott, Nathaniel; Antebellum Era; Auburn Bank; Masons; Yancey, William Lowndes; Stephens, Alexander; Hill, Benjamin Harvey; Toombs, Robert; Auburn University Archives and Special Collections; Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College; Civil War; New South; William J. Samford Hall; Langdon, Charles; Langdon Hall; Historic American Buildings Survey; National Register of Historic Buildings; Secession


In the early 1850s, Colonel Nathaniel Scott petitioned Auburn’s local Masonic lodge (Auburn Lodge #76) to sponsor a female educational center in town. In 1853, Auburn Masonic Female College became the town’s first women’s educational institution. Colonel Scott served as president of the college’s board of directors. A spacious, two-story frame building located on the corner of North Gay Street and East Magnolia Avenue housed the female college. A plaque on a boulder a few yards west of Auburn Bank, 100 North Gay Street, Auburn, marks the original site of Auburn Masonic Female College. In its first year, the college enrolled 106 students, some of whom boarded. The Masons subsequently built a huge chapel adjacent to the school for the sum of $2,500. The chapel sat eight hundred people and was used by the female college for commencement ceremonies, plays, and concerts.

In 1860, the chapel hosted a famous secession debate involving prominent fire-eaters William Lowndes Yancey, Alexander Stephens, Benjamin Harvey Hill, and Robert Toombs. A plaque commemorating the debate now resides in Auburn University’s Archives and Special Collections on the bottom floor of Ralph Brown Draughon Library. Auburn Masonic Female College closed during the Civil War, and in 1883 Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College purchased the building and moved it to its present location next to William J. Samford Hall. In 1892, the college remodeled the building and named it after trustee Charles Langdon.

The college used Langdon Hall in many ways over the course of the next century, including classroom, theater, and student recreation center. Langdon Hall, which actually has no physical address, is located about a hundred feet north of William J. Samford Hall at 182 South College Street, Auburn University. The building is listed on the Historic American Buildings Survey and the National Register of Historic Places, and is the second oldest public building in Auburn.


Taylor McGaughy


Image Source:

Text Source: Ralph Draughon, Jr., Delos Hughes, and Ann Pearson, Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs (Montgomery: NewSouth Books, 2012), 48-49.


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey




Taylor McGaughy


JPEG and Text




Still Image and Text