The lakeside bathhouse was converted into a science laboratory and
darkroom. In 1943-44 an extension was added to the north end to house
Fritz Hansgirg’s experiments in the extraction of magnesium from the
locally abundant olivine. Hansgirg, a German refugee, held
international patents on processes for the extraction of magnesium
from sea water.
In September 1948 the building burned. Among the losses were
Hansgirg’s experiments and Hazel Larsen Archer’s negatives which she
had left overnight in the darkroom.
“A major job turned out to be the replacing of rotten sills under
the concrete floor of the bathhouse which is being converted into
science laboratories, a dark room, and a couple of studies. The work
is directed by Fred Coolidge, a camper from the Harvard Graduate
School of Design.” Black Mountain College Newsletter, No. 14, August
BMC Bulletin, Supplement to 6/1, September 1948
Stepner Edelman, Dining Hall and Science Building (detail), courtesy
Black Mountain College Project;
Stuart Atkinson, Arial view showing extension for magnesium plant
(detail) courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black
Mountain College Research Project.