Wake Forest College Birthplace Society

About the Society

The Wake Forest College Birthplace Society has spent more than half a century working to keep the story of Old Wake Forest alive, and what began as a small group of activists in 1956 has grown into a substantial and significant nonprofit organization.

Today the Society owns over 15,000 pages of documents ranging from the lecture notes of Dr. Willis Cullom to the football plays of Coach “Peahead” Walker. We have collected more than 5,000 photographs, approximately 1,000 books, and hundreds of artifacts.

This vital work is made possible by extensive financial support from Wake Forest University, the Town of Wake Forest, a network of old and new alumni and residents, and the many friends we’ve made over the years. Society memberships pay for the museum’s utilities and maintenance and allow us to purchase documents and artifacts when they become available.

Looking to the Society’s future– as we seek to expand our collections and grow our endowment– it’s crucial that we continue to seek and sustain our very special connections with the rapidly growing communities here in the Town of Wake Forest and at Wake Forest University.

Our Mission

To preserve, share, and support the full unique history and culture of Wake Forest – College, Town, and University; and in cooperation with Wake Forest University to create a living laboratory of academic inquiry into civic, community, and institutional history.

Our Vision

To preserve, interpret, and share the unique history and culture of Wake Forest College and its interwoven growth with the Town of Wake Forest; to nurture in the spirit of Pro Humanitate, the highest values of the College, the Town, and the University for current and future generations who care deeply about the importance of the past and place to what lies ahead; and to offer programs that enrich the lives of the communities served by the Wake Forest Historical Museum.

To cooperate with Wake Forest University to become a center for research and academic activity, leveraging the University’s capabilities to make the Museum a vibrant place of activity and inquiry in the areas of community engagement, community and institutional evolution, and exploration of all aspects of Southern history.

Society Beginnings

Eleven women of the Wake Forest Garden Club began a campaign in 1956 to raise funds to save the building where Wake Forest College was begun, the Calvin Jones house. They were successful in raising $2,500 and obtaining a matching donation from the College to move the house. Within months, the old structure had been carefully transferred six blocks up North Main Street to four acres given by the College.

Calvin Jones House in a field. People picking up rocks in field.
Community members cleaning the Calvin Jones House lot.

Restoration of the exterior of the house was completed in late 1963. The Wake Forest Community Council painted the exterior as a Bicentennial project funded by sixteen community groups. Basic landscaping of the site followed, and soon an anonymous gift enabled the restoration of the rooms. Enough furnishings and memorabilia had been collected by October of 1979 to open the house as a museum.