Bynum Hall was originally built as a gymnasium. It was completed in 1905 and named in honor of William Preston Bynum Jr., a student in the 1890s who died of typhoid fever after his sophomore year. Bynum's grandfather provided the funding for the building. It is one of only two on campus named for students solely in honor of their experiences as students (Hinton James Residence Hall is the other). The gym was fully equipped with early-twentieth-century fitness equipment. The Tar Heel reported that the medicine balls and punching bags were especially popular. One of the more interesting features of the gym was a second-floor balcony track. The basement held a swimming pool (the only indoor pool in Chapel Hill at the time) and locker rooms, including showers, which were popular in an era when many dorms did not have them. Bynum served as the primary gym on campus until the opening of Woollen Gym in 1938. A 1947 Alumni Review article fondly remembered the old gym, especially "that gymnasium smell,' which provides an olfaction unfamiliar to students now accustomed to the air-blown dressing rooms of Woollen Gym."
The old gym space was converted to offices and housed the School of Journalism and the University of North Carolina Press. Student services, including the university cashier, were housed in Bynum for many years.
Date Established: 1905
Date Range: 1905 – Present