“UNCG Auditorium” will be spelled out in cast bronze letters later this summer. The past name of “Aycock Auditorium” was removed from the building’s facade last week, and afterward some prep work began.
“We’re trying to clean it up,” said Chris Aareo, UNCG project manager in Facilities. Workers were taking off a coating placed during an earlier renovation.
Some of the coating on the facade was popping off, he explained, as were some fill-in materials from over the decades.
As the coating was removed, the earliest name for the auditorium was revealed for passers-by to discover: “NORTH CAROLINA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN AUDITORIUM.”
Those letters hadn’t seen the light of day in a long time, said Benjamin Roberts of Miraje Reconstruction Development, who was working to remove the coating on the limestone.
The letters were chiseled into the stone when the auditorium was built in the 1920s. They were filled in with some type of mortar and painted decades ago, he explained. But for a few days last week, the long-hidden lettering was quite apparent.
Interestingly, this architect’s drawing from 1922 shows “NC” instead of “North Carolina,” shortening the number of letters. Here is the lettering as the auditorium was constructed in early 1927 and when it was complete. Here is the lettering seen in 1945 – North Carolina College for Women Auditorium. (These visuals are courtesy the UNCG Digital Collections.)
UNCG Archivist Erin Lawrimore in University Libraries, after researching visuals in the archives, said that the Aycock name went up at some point between 1947 and 1958. She pointed out a photo from 1958 that had the Aycock name on the facade.
As he oversaw the work last week, Aeroe said, “What we put on will bond better and have some opacity.” It will likely be a mineral paint, conducive to use with limestone. It’ll be somewhat opaque; you’ll be able to see some of the limestone features, such as texture and joints.
The Board of Trustees approved the “UNCG Auditorium” name in February. The bronze letters of the former “Aycock Auditorium” name that were removed, 15 inches in height, will be stored in UNCG Archives.
The new “UNCG Auditorium” name is expected to be in place in several weeks.
By Mike Harris
Photographs by Mike Harris