North Carolina Medical College
Davidson and Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historical Properties Commission has placed the National Register application for the North Carolina Medical College building online. This contains both a history of the school and a description of the building. The Charlotte Observer covered many of the school events and also carried its ads. “Good Samaritan Hospital and the North Carolina Medical College Circa Early 1900: The First Major Affiliation Between a Black Hospital and a White Medical College” is on line.
North Carolina Medical College was incorporated in July 1893 at Davidson, NC. Dr. J. P. Monroe had revamped a preparatory school into a degree-granting institution with a three-year curriculum. NCMC students took chemistry and physics classes from adjoining Davidson College. In return, Dr. Monroe was the Davidson College physician, and the NCMC clinic and hospital served as an infirmary for Davidson students and faculty.
The 1894 commencement featured seven graduates. Enrollment reached 80 by 1897. That year 16 of seventeen graduates passed the state examination. In 1900 The New York Board of Regents placed NCMC on the list of schools that conformed to their licensing standards.
A chapter of the YMCA opened at NCMC in 1898. It arranged a series of lectures for students in 1899. The organization also sponsored a reading room for students.
Seeking more clinical experience for students, Dr. Monroe moved the senior class to Charlotte in 1902, and by 1907 had moved the entire college there. But the 1910 Flexner report was scathing. The report uses the terms “poor,” “wretched,” and “meager” to describe laboratories and the dispensary. The report concludes that “any real standards” would quickly dispose of the “thoroughly wretched” college. The only bright spot mentioned was the relationship with the black hospital.
In 1914 Monroe closed the Charlotte facility and moved the students to Medical College of Virginia. With the graduation of the last student in 1917, NCMC ceased to exist.
Bricks and Mortar
NCNC began modestly. By 1895 the Observer notes that a large lecture room “over McNeel’s store” had been added. By 1897 a new building—a two-story brick structure—had been added, followed by a new hospital in 1901.
In 1902 NCMC had opened a clinic in Charlotte, occupying floors of the Southern Real Estate building. Then in 1903 Monroe acquired the Presbyterian Hospital on Church Street in Charlotte and entered into a working arrangement with Good Samaritan Hospital, a facility for for Black patients. At that time the Senior class was moved to Charlotte, using the Presbyterian Hospital. In 1906 the entire school moved to the larger city.
In 1906 NCMC built a new building at the corner of Church and Sixth streets in Charlotte. Built at a cost of $27,000, the classical building was three-story, red brick. The first floor contained clinical facilities and an amphitheater with seating for 300; the second floor contained labs and the YMCA reading room; the third floor had more labs and the dissecting room.
After the school left Charlotte, The building was sold and converted into luxury apartments. This is still the case today.
Until the move to Charlotte, NCMC football players “strongly reinforced the regular Davidson College team.” In October 1907 the Observer notes that an Athletic Association had been formed at the school to organize a football team—the first collegiate effort in Charlotte. Several players “who had made marks in North Carolina colleges” were available. The article notes that the expenses of fielding a team were such that the city rather than the college would have to bear them. That initial team suffered a 5-0 loss to a YMCA team and also played the Morganton School for the Deaf. The 1908 team played three games—all losses to Davidson (twice) and Bingham Military School—before disbanding. The 1909 team played a larger schedule including Davidson, South Carolina, Wake Forest, and Bingham. But generally, the “grim earnestness of classroom work” worked against a successful sports program.
Students and faculty of North Carolina Medical College in 1904. Image from the 1905 Quips and Cranks. https://archive.org/stream/quipscranks1905davi#page/n196/mode/1up (accessed 1-2-2018)
The 1907 North Carolina Medical School building as it appeared in 1997. http://www.cmhpf.org/S&Rs%20Alphabetical%20Order/surveys&rncmedical.htm (accessed 1-2-2018)