Polk Place

The quad that stretches from South Building to Wilson Library is named for James K. Polk, the only university alumnus to date to become president of the United States. If McCorkle Place, to the north of South Building, represents the nineteenth-century campus, then Polk Place represents the early twentieth century and the beginning of the modern research university. The quad was planned to accommodate dramatic growth in the student body. Most of its classroom buildings, along with Wilson Library, were built over about ten years. The architect firm of McKim, Mead and White designed the quad, and architect Arthur C. Nash oversaw its development and construction. To accommodate the construction pace, a railroad spur was extended temporarily into the center of the quad so that materials could be delivered to the site.


View of Polk Place, ca. 1960s, probably taken from one of the upstairs windows in South Building. UNC Image Collection, North Carolina Collection Photo Archives, Wilson Library.