Pearls of the Past: Old Main Catches Fire

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The hallmark of North Central College is Old Main, which was built when the institution first moved to Naperville.

But the building nearly suffered a total lost after it was engulfed in flames during renovations in 1997. Crews were finishing a two-year, $6-million facelift to the college’s oldest building when a fire broke out in the south tower, delaying the renovation’s completion.

Fortunately the damage was minimal but gave the North Central College community a chance to reflect on the importance of old main. As then president Hal Wilde put it, “It’s about surviving as an institution that we can all be proud of.”