Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 21, 1990):
Old Main has been the dominant building at this small, rural college in West Virginia's panhandle since it was erected between 1858 and 1871. The building also represents the college's pivotal historical role as the headquarters of Alexander Campbell (1788-1866), a principal founder of the Christian Church (the Disciples of Christ); the college is the fountainhead institution of more than a hundred colleges and universities established in the United States by the church. The phenomenon is intimately linked to the Scots-Irish ethnic settlement of the American frontier. Additionally, Old Main is one of the country's earliest intact large-scale examples of collegiate Gothic architecture.